Echoes of Madness

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Star Trek Fanfiction
Title: Echoes of Madness
Author(s): June C. Tisdale
Date(s): 1986
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
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Echoes of Madness is a gen Star Trek: TOS story by June C. Tisdale.

It was published in Images and Dreams #2.

Reactions and Reviews

The Mary Sue story [Echoes of Madness] also got a lot of press in Treklink. In issue 6, I wrote a detailed review of "Echoes of Madness," which had appeared in the fanzine Images and Dreams 2'. This was a Mary Sue story featuring a character called "Destiny Hoffman." Destiny is an officer aboard the NCC-1701. There is nothing she cannot do. She is a "Daughter of the Star" and has special powers. She is a better telepath than Spock. She is an "ambassador plenipotentiary" and outranks Kirk. She has studied on Vulcan and is a foster-daughter of Kirk's mother. Not only do Kirk, Spock, and McCoy constantly praise her, but Destiny thoughtfully brings William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy forward in time. The actors also shower Destiny with praise. The writing, unfortunately, included many awkward phrases and errors of fact. Despite this, I saw at least one "Destiny Hoffman" story in another fanzine [this zine is Likely Impossibilities #2]. There, readers were told that the author had written five hundred "Destiny Hoffman" stories, and was about to publish them in a one- volume fanzine. However, this proposed fanzine, to my knowledge, never saw print. [1]
"Echoes of Madness" may be summarized as follows: Kirk is kidnapped by the Klingons to be used as bait to lure Destiny Hoffman into a trap. However, she has a rescue plan: she gets Spock to fetch William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy from our place and time so they can impersonate Kirk and Spock, and thus confuse things enough to pull off a rescue. The first thing one will notice about Destiny Hoffman is that she is an Exceedingly Important Person. She is the head of "astrobiophysics" for the ENTERPRISE. (However she is never seen doing "astrobiophysics," probably because no such field could possibly exist. "Astrophysics" is the physics of astronomical objects, such as stars. "Biophysics" is the physics of biological objects, such as trees. "Astrobiophysics" would have to be the biophysics of astronomical objects, and since there are no biological astronomical objects I know of, the word is nonsensical. The only thing I can chink of is chat she might mean the biophysics of extraterrestrials, in which case the term ought to be "xenobiophysics," or some such term. "Astrobio-physics" is an impressive-sounding term with no meaning. Writers of Star Trek need not know science, of course, but if they don't, I think it advisable co avoid terms chat don't make sense to people that do know science.) Being the head of the "astrobiophysics" dept., however, is the least important thing about the character. Her rank, is full Commander, meaning she is equivalent in rank to Spock, and above the rank of everyone else aboard the ship except Kirk. Or is she? No, she is also "Ambassador Plenipotentiary," which gives her the authority to pull rank on Kirk whenever she wishes to contradict his orders—an authority she uses liberally. But this is still not all. She is also a "Daughter of the Star" and has special powers. She is a telepath, and linked to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. They are unaware of this link. Hoffman's mind link to Kirk, by the way, is far superior to Spock's.

Besides being an Exceedingly Important Person (characteristic 1) with Special Powers (characteristic 2), she also is personally close to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. The story says she has known Kirk since the age of 3 since Kirk's mother was her guardian. She says she has "the advantage of nine years of living on Vulcan"—convenient if one's first officer is also Vulcan. Dr. McCoy, the story says, "is a very good friend of hers." Of course, as she is personally close to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (characteristic 3), they shower her with compliments continually (characteristic A). In this story, Hoffman has the added advantage of Shatner and Nimoy praising her. The following are quotes from the following characters: Kirk—"If she's gone and got herself killed, I'll never forgive her!"; Spock—"even Vulcans are not immune to her tactics"; McCoy—"'Somehow she survived the fall,' he remarked in reverence"; Shatner—"Ifve grown fond of her. So has Leonard"; Nimoy—"I find that you're (sic) outter (sic) demeanor hides a very sensitive woman. I think I like her." Not only do these people gush over her, but when she is missing, 125 people beam down in an area of less than one square kilometer to look for her (that's not an error, either; it is one hundred twenty-five). In the series, and in the movie, I've never seen that many people beam down to find one person, no matter how important. She falls down a cliff, but survives somehow, and recovers pretty fast. In the meantime, everyone is obsessed with her and her recovery (almost to the exclusion of ordinary everyday activities). When she recovers, Aside from the Mary Sue issues, this story contains errors of fact, grammar, and style (not uncommon in Mary Sue stories, since many are by inexperienced writers). For example, the statements,

.... [other very picky phrasing comments omitted] The phrase, "The Diplomatic Corps will need a Habeaus Corpus," is in error. "Habeaus Corpus" is not correct in this context; "Corpus Delicti" is the phrase the author should have used. Also, the author does not need to explain the obvious, as she did in her one-paragraph clarification of the phrase, "the trapper may become the trapped," whose meaning is self-evident. Nor is she consistent in referring to the characters in the narrative (in contrast to the dialogue, which need not be consistent); for instance, sometimes she refers to Admiral James T. Kirk as "Jim," and other times as "Kirk." The above uncorrected errors indicate that the editor as well as the author are inexperienced in their jobs: a good editor would have asked the author to fix such things. The reasons, then, why Mary Sue stories are so poor (in general; I have read some good ones) are that no believable character has as many titles, abilities, and powers as a typical Mary Sue has. (At one point, Destiny Hoffman says, "I am well versed in many forms of hand to hand combat, with some modesty, I must admit I am an expert at most forms of armed combat." Goodness, is there nothing this woman cannot do?) No believable character is gushed over by so many normally levelheaded characters such as Kirk and Spock as a typical Mary Sue. No believable character can have such exclusive domination over a situation as a typical Mary Sue has. (Did I mention that Destiny Hoffman has all the ideas on how to do the rescue?)

I'm not sure why editors publish such stories, or why readers seem to enjoy them. Perhaps it is that some fans live out their own Mary Sue fantasies by reading such stories. If this describes your tastes, and Destiny Hoffman sounds like the sort of character whose adventures you want to read, then watch for the volume of collected Destiny Hoffman stories that June Tisdale is planning to publish. [2]


  1. from Boldly Writing
  2. by Joan Verba from Treklink #6