Dreams of the Sleepers
|Title:||Dreams of the Sleepers|
|Publisher:||Pon Farr Press|
|Author(s):||Alexis Fegan Black|
|Cover Artist(s):||Vel Jaeger|
|Medium:||print zine, fanfic|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
|External Links:||online flyer|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
"My Soul to Sleep" is the gen version sent to Pocket Books.
It is a time travel story in which Kirk and Spock visit Earth's 1960 on a research mission that goes awry, so that they fall into the hands of the U.S. government.
In a 2011 interview, the author called it her favorite novel. 
Publisher's summary: ".... what could occur should James Kirk and Spock be called on to bring the Enterprise into Earth's past. It begins as a mission of historical research into Old Earth's development of psychotronic weapons during the 1960's. But the mission quickly goes awry, leaving K & S at the mercy of the U.S. Government -- where they learn that they are not the first "aliens" to "visit" this world. Nor are they the first to experience the fate of life suspension -- a process which creates a prison with no bars, and perhaps a world which only the mind's eye can perceive."
Summary from Media Monitor: "Arguably the most influential K/S zine ever written... Kirk and Spock travel back in time to Earth's 1960's where they are captured by a hostile government and placed in cryonic suspension. Their bodies are trapped, but their astral selves live on."
Summary from Gilda F: "Sent on a mission into the past, Kirk and Spock are captured by the very institution they were sent to investigate, a company which uses ʻsleepersʼ as psychotronic weapons."
Part of a Series
This story was originally sent in the form of a professional manuscript to Pocket Books for publishing consideration in 1985. It 1986, Van Hise offered this in manuscript form, "signed by the author," for sale in Datazine #44. It was later re-written as Dreams of the Sleepers.
- "All That We See or Seem" by Christopher Randolph and Dianne Tessman, a story in Starry Seas, Earthly Planes, is a "sort-of-tie-in story for Dreams of the Sleepers, though either can be read separately and stands on its own."
What's It All About?: 1985From the editorial:
"What's it all about? ... DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS is about a lot of things-- as you will see as you begin reading. For years people in fandom, people who have been touched by the essence of STAR TREK, have formulated hypotheses, written stories, and generally spent a lot of sleepless nights trying to figure out why the hell a t.v. show grabbed them by the soul and refuses to let go. That's one thing DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS is about.
It's also about reality — about who defines what's real, and what isn't. Since the dawn of time, the human animal has been dreaming. About everything from relatives to cars to space to the end of the world to making it with a moose on a warm day in Alaska. Dreams are funny things. So is reality. The only thing funnier is the government, a la STARMAN and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, just to name two prime examples of the kind of funny business I'm talking about. Who knows? Actually, DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS began long before either of these two movies were ever ever, considered. At least the concept of DOTS started prior to that. In about... oh... let's see... 1967 or thereabouts? It's difficult to look at the stars and not think about STAR TREK — especially when you're a twelve year old kid who wants to believe that K & S and the Big E just might be flying overhead sometime. Episodes like TOMORROW IS YESTERDAY and ASSIGNMENT EARTH were wonderful for that kind of fantasy, weren't they? But in all seriousness, DOTS is more of a question than an answer. It is not only a question about the potential "reality" of STAR TREK, but a question about ourselves as well. After you've read this novel, I hope you will ask yourself one question: What would this world be like without STAR TREK? Sure, there are plenty of well-meaning mundanes in the world who would have us believe that TREK is only a t.v. show, and that K & S are really nothing more than a twinkle in the eyes of the actors and Gene Roddenberry. And, as usual, truth is in the eye of the beholder. On a more "mundane" side of it all,, there WILL be "sequels" to DOTS — actually more like stories which will fit into the DOTS universe. No, I do not know when or what they'll be. I only know that they WILL be... sooner or later. Like I said, when something grabs one by the soul and refuses to Let go, it's hard to stop writing, hard to stop believing that there is something out there worth going for. Ah well— so much for sleep. So much for feeding the cat- So much for the mundane reality. At any rate, DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS is for your enjoyment — and hopefully to provoke a few thoughts some of you may not have been troubled with before. Yes, I know there are a few typos. I also know that some of the printing might be not quite as beautiful as other zines. And yes, I'm perfectly well aware that some of the graphics ain't perfect. Quite honestly, I was more interested in the story — which I hope will speak for itself. I welcome letters of comment — even negatives ones with constructive criticism. What I don't welcome are picky little gripes. In recent months, it seems that many fans are more interested in whether or not the zine is spiral bound with neatsy-weatsy computer print than whether the stories are interesting or well-written. I'm not aiming this at those fans who read for pleasure — and I know there will be a few who may not Like DOTS. ALL I'm saying is that I'm not interested in LoCs if they're only designed to compare the paper, typing, printing, typos, graphics, et al with other publications. Save your stamp. On the other hand, I openly Look forward to comments on the content of the story, or, the writing, or the hypotheses set forth. I'd love to hear I from you with any comments or far-out ideas.At any rate, I hope you will enjoy DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS. And, in a nice way, I hope it "haunts" you as much as it has haunted the few people who have read the manuscript. The next time you're out on a lonely stretch cf road at night and you see a patch of fog whisper across your headlights... or the next time you're rattled from a sound sleep with the feeling that someone or something just walked through your soul... think about the sleepers... and their dreams.
What's It All About?: ~2006From the author at her sales website:
What's It All About?: 2011
From the interview: Interview with Della Van Hise (Slash Alexis Fagen Black):
In my K/S writing, I would say that my personal favorite is Dreams of the Sleepers - a plot-driven novel that has Kirk and Spock captured by the US government in the 60s, and placed into cryonic suspension, where they then ‘dream’ their way to love and ecstasy despite the very dark circumstances surrounding them. It turned into a trilogy, and in some ways contributed to the foundation of some of my more mystical pursuits later on. How much of what we think about reality is real, and how much may be only a dream within a dream? Sure...age-old questions, nothing new there, but when we really start looking at what we write, we learn more aboutwhat we believe, and in learning what we believe, we begin to get a more accurate view of the person in the mirror. That’s what writing is all about - not just about getting two characters in bed, or solving a mystery or launching a rocket... it’s really about examining the writer herself... through the process of writing. 
A Mention of the Sequel, and Too Many LoCsIn 1985, the author thanks fans:
I'd like to personally thank everyone who has written with LoC's on DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS. The response has been tremendous, & I simply wish I had the time to answer each letter personally. But the LoC's have inspired me to start work on the sequel — though at this time I have no idea when that'll happen.
- Dreams of the Sleepers
- untitled poem by Natasha Solten (74)
- untitled poem by Diane Tessman (85)
- Cold Dream, poem by Natasha Solten (97)
- Some Kind of Hero, poem by Natasha Solten (128)
- Wayward Sons, poem by Diane Tessman (136)
- Of Butterflies... and Men, poem by Alexis Fegan Black (142) (It has the editor's note: "This poem is part of the novel. Please do not read it until you have completed the story itself. Thanks...")
"Time did not pass.
Rather, Spock decided, he passed through it, weaving it around him like a blanket of invisible filaments. It was an entity. Alive. Sentient. And ultimately patient. He realized with a pang of loneliness that Jim was not yet with him; and upon stretching out the tendrils of his mind, he confirmed that the human was still very much "asleep", drawn into the tight womb of the chamber's void. But Time, his new friend, whispered that she would take find care of her human prize.
For a moment which might have spanned several years, Spock dwelled in that loneliness, letting the sensation close over him, reminding him of what he had lost. But with that reminder, came a renewed determination which was, he decided, illogical under his present circumstances. Some always-Vulcan segment of his mind informed him with questionable accuracy that his body had been in the sleeper unit for nearly three months; and another probe into more realistic matters confirmed that his own body, though there was no sensation connected to it, still lived… at least in some definition of the word.
For a very long while, he was content to float, relying on past memories to occupy his mind, to keep him from drifting back toward the eerie invitation to sleep. With a scientist's curiosity, he pondered the peculiar sensation of Existence. It, too, was an entity. It simply was -- without form or substance, without the five senses upon which he had relied in the past. It was flame without fuel. Light without source. Spirit without temple. It was, he understood with utter simplicity, the essence of self, the culmination of all realities existing outside physical sensation.He pondered that at length. And when Time tapped him gently on the shoulder, it was a full month later…"
Reactions and Reviews
Ideally, a zine review should probably include a brief plot synopsis -- a little taste of what it's all about. For this novel, it isn't that simple. "Dreams of The Sleeper" is about Time, and Reality, and Love and the nature of Truth. Beyond the disclosure that the ENTERPRISE has returned to the Twentieth Century on a critical mission, I am reluctant to deprive readers of the joy of discovery they will experience upon reading D.O.T.S., and so I will not attempt a storyline summary here. I'm not even sure it would be possible in this case. Most of the ideas are not new or unique (to Trekkers, at least), but they are beautifully worked into an unusual and intriguing plot. Be prepared to think. This is not light reading. If you have never explored the depths of your own thinking processes, or wondered about the nature of what we call Reality if you have never attempted to analyze why Star Trek holds such irresistible fascination for so many of us; if you still think (or EVER thought) that Trek is "science fiction" -- then this novel will probably give you a headache. On the other hand, I've found a great many K/S aficionados HAVE given considerable thought to the metaphysical aspect of Star Trek and its characters. To them, I can give a succinct review of this story: "Dreams of the Sleepers" is easily the most fascinating novel ever to come out of Star Trek fandom. And who is to say it isn't true? What is Truth? D.O.T.S. is my nomination for this year's K/Star Award. Nothing I've read this year even comes close to it. 
Have you ever been looking out a window, mind drifting, imagination taking wing upon some Starship-shaped cloud when suddenly there seemed to be a presence behind you, as if someone has stepped silently into the room and passed close by your shoulder? Has it ever seemed, in the dark hours of the night, that those characters you've been reading about or writing a story about have somehow taken three dimensional form and walked past your bedstand or your typewriter and out your door? Have you ever heard of 'Project Blue Book'? Ever wonder if those UFO's that have been reported over the past 40-ish years have been more than mere flashes in the sky? Ever wonder what the US Government might do with any aliens found in these UFO's, with any information they could extract from visiting aliens? Has STAR TREK ever struck you as more than just a TV series? Has there seemed to be some hidden, untouchable truth just beyond your mind's ability to understand? Well, one must wonder if this isn't more than a passing impression for Alexis Fegan Black. DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS is an amalgamation of adventure, mystery, romance, comedy, tragedy, K/S and hope and it's all extremely well written. The ENTERPRISE is ordered back in time to investigate a top secret installation where it is suspected a now-lost 'psychotronic' weapon was developed before the Eugenics Wars destroyed all traces of it. The Federation is very interested in finding this weapon and, despite their own misgivings about bringing such an item forward to their own time, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Secutiry Chief Ariel Pierson beam down to 1960's Southern California. Through a very interesting series of events, both Kirk and Spock are captured by Futura Technics, the corporation they have been ordered to investigate, and soon are given first hand experience of the ' psychotronic' weapon, the results of which put them in a unit known as "Project CLOES". Find themselves faced with cryogenic suspension, Kirk and Spock are forced to survive... anyway they can. While DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS involves a deeply moving K/S relationship, the actual details of that relationship take a far backseat to the intricate, compelling, often frustrating plot. I found myself alternately brought to tears and laughter and, quite often, both at the same time. There is a great sense of verisimilitude (I 've waited years to use that word! It means a thing has a great sense of being true), a haunting familiarity, as though it is something I lived through or was privy to long ago and only now can remember. The theories Alexis puts forth (which include "astral tripping", time psychic weapons and levels of consciousness far beyond the ' norm' ) hold up cynical scrutiny for me, broaching a possibility thai is both exciting and frightening, nobel and deminishing in its scope. One can only hope that Alexis' reality, or a least that which she suggests in DOTS, in fact... not the one which she proposes would or will be in its place. DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS is 142 pages (reduced) and contains some beautiful, very apropos poetry by Natasha Solten and Diane Tessman as well as a final, summarizing poem by Alexis Fegan Black. The cover art by Vel Jager is beautiful and, as of this moment, there is no inside art. The cost, in person, in $14. 00 and I found it well worth the money. In this time of K/S with little plot, and plot there is is often only a devise to get the boys into bed, the intriguing, page-turning story of these pages is far more than simply refreshing. I hope to see sequels to this story soon. 
This is a K/S zine, but that is not the pivot (physically). The story deals with metaphysical and moral questions. Spock and Kirk are captured by Earth military in 1963 and become two of many aliens caught in a military UFO cover-up. They are put in a state similar to, but more than, suspended animation. This is handled in a manner that is very plausible, touching, poignant, and frightening. Alexis wonders just what occurs to the mind when the body is in a near-dead state. Spock is the first to break away from his body, and he meets another alien similarly controlled. This new friend teaches Spock how to live with and use the spirit state in which he finds himself, and Spock begins to hope that Kirk will soon be free. After some tense experiences, Spock does free Kirk, and the two live a spirit life in this Earth, planning how they can get back to their own bodies and time and, also, how they can keep the awful things that they have suffered from happening to others. I thoroughly loved this novel. It was well thought out, complex, extremely imaginative, tense, loving, thought-provoking, and full of mystery and adventure. It was creative and enchanting, with some very senuous and tender K/S scenes. This story indicates to me that Alexis is a very talented writer with an extremely vivid and realistic imagination. If you are like me, when you finish this story, you will really wonder if the Star Trek crew and the Enterprise are real and if that is the reason that we write about them. Do we write about them because somehow we intuit the truth and, in writing about this world, give it life and make it real? You will think on this for a long time after reading this novel and ask, which is first in our reality? I recommend this zine without reservation. Alexis is a woman, a writer, of courage and vision. 
THE DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS by Alexis Fagen Black is just superb. It is the best written and most original 1985 K/S novel that I have read. (I can't include what I haven't read yet in any current evaluation.) Kirk and Spock are cyrogenically suspended and conduct their relationship through astral projection and illusion. The boundaries of reality become very elusive, and it is impossible to ascertain what has really happened. The approach of the author is Discordian. Discordian is the philosophy that maintains that there are alternate realities beyond the one perceived with the five senses. The latter is called consensus reality by Discordians because it's necessary to agree with its premises in order to survive. However there are other modes of consciousness, such as the one involved in astral projection, that allow one to perceive other planes. These have entirely different operating rules than consensus reality. For more information on this perspective see ALTERNATE REALITIES by Lawrence LeShan.One thing that I would like to discuss about the novel is that when they go off into art illusionary sex scenario, it's always a first time. Part of the reason seems to be the need for intensity which freshness brings that I was talking about earlier in this zine in my discussion of the appeal of anonymous sex. Then there is the emphasis placed on innocence. Kirk says, "With you I want to be new. " Perhaps knowing Spock has had no actual experience with sex, this represents a desire to be Spock's equal in this matter. Wiping out the past and start ing with a clean slate in his relationship with Spock also means that Kirk won't repeat old mistakes he'd made in earlier relationships. This is a fine idea in theory, but in practice you can't do it. Kirk's past experiences are an integral part of his identity. He wouldn' t be Kirk without them. If Spock loves Kirk, he must accept his past as well. Neither man is new. They both act and react from a complex mix of factors, one of which is past experience. I prefer a Kirk and Spock who accept one another as they are and continue to grow beyond that. Yet since life is change, in a very real way every personal encounter is a first time. No one is ever precisely the same as they were before. The ever-renewing first time in this novel is like the myth of the Phoenix that rises from its ashes. On the other hand, these repeating first time sex scenes are too much of a literalization of that theme. The strength of THE DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS lies in symbol and metaphor rather than concreteness. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that Alexis did this just because she likes first times, and not for any truly profound metaphysical reason? I try not to read too much into K/S, but I have this tendency toward thematic analysis. DREAMS OF THE SLEEPERS is, for the most, part, excellent ground for such philosophical dissection, but I keep on forgetting that some things may be there just because the writer thinks they're fun. Some day I would like to write an article about first t imes, but I'd like to wait and read a little more before I do that. 
In a word, it was overwhelming. I had always sensed a special closeness between Kirk and Spock, and to see the two of them brought together in such a unique set of circumstances as DOTS provided left me with a feeling of absolute awe. Also, Alexis' poetic style of writing in DOTS was so tender and poignant that I swore I'd never write another poem as long as I lived. Ms. Black adequately expresses the love between Kirk and Spock in this novel, and she gave me an added insight into "mysticism. 
... about long novels in which no one learns anything being written for much the same reasons that a batch of shorter stories are, good point! The one time I paged tlirough Dremns of the Sleepers, a very long K/S novel/series/universe, it seemed to me to be mostly a device to get innumerable first-time stories in one timeline... 
The Enterprise is ordered to go to Earth's past, the early sixties. Kirk and Spock are confronted with very advanced technology, far more ahead as the time-area they are in now. There is some kind of private research building, Futura Technics, and Kirk and Spock go down there to investigate. They discover that hundreds of people are kept in prison there by means of cryonic suspension. The thoughts of all those 'sleepers' together form a considerable energy-power, which is impossible to conquer, and they become captives themselves. Their captors, lead by Dr. Meade, plan to let Kirk and Spock share the sleepers, and they, too are put on ice. A wonderfully written scene, describing the fears for their destiny and feelings they have for each other, when Kirk and Spock finally are put on life suspension. But first Spock and later Kirk find themselves awake in some astral reality. They now have astral bodies—without shadow—they cannot touch anything in the real world and cannot be seen. They can no longer pretend the feelings they have for each other don't exist, and they learn to live in their new reality and to love each other. The sleepers form a great danger. They are a sort of united energy of all the sleepers, directed by a computer in the labs. Dr. Meade intends for the sleepers to be a new invincible psychological weapon. There is always a danger for Kirk and Spock that the sleepers will force them to join them. To keep their minds busy and thus the sleepers away, they live some fantasies themselves, where they make love for the first time in all different kinds of scenarios. This is a well-written story with good characterization of both Kirk and Spock. Spock is discovering that he can no longer, and need no longer, hide his feelings for Kirk, and Kirk finds out that he needs more than being a starship captain and that he sometimes needs to depend on another. 
[many years later, the author commented about this zine]:... don't ask me what I was thinking when I wrote Dreams of the Sleepers, and don't expect me to remember whether the third story in Contact #2 has a happy ending or not, or what the name of the Klingon was in Kraith #19724. I wish I remembered. Truly I do. But alas, they only let me out on weekends, and then only on a short leash. Memory? What memory? 
- See Interview with Della Van Hise (Slash Alexis Fagen Black)
- many years later, the author comments about this zine, at Fanzines Plus: The Essential Yadda, accessed March 5, 2012
- Interview with Della Van Hise (Slash Alexis Fagen Black)
- from Not Tonight Spock! #10
- from Not Tonight, Spock! #9
- from Datazine #41
- from Universal Translator #31
- from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #19 (1986)
- from On the Double #10
- comment by a fan, quoted anonymously (November 1993) )
- from The K/S Press #20
- at Fanzines Plus: The Essential Yadda, accessed March 5, 2012