Fetish (Star Trek: TOS zine)

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Zine
Title: Fetish
Publisher: Merry Men Press
Editor:
Author(s): Jenny Starr
Cover Artist(s): Chris Soto
Illustrator(s): Chris Soto and Suzan Lovett
Date(s): 1988
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Fetish is a Kirk/Spock 190-page slash novel by Jenny Starr.

The cover is by Chris Soto and most of the interior art is by Chris Soto. Two of the interior illos are by Suzan Lovett.

Fetish was edited by Robin Hood.

This zine won several 1988 Surak Awards.

cover by Chris Soto
"third edition" version of the cover

Summary

From The Zine Connection #34 (1995): "Winner of the 1988 novel and more! A wonderfully well-written novel by Jenny Starr -- one of fandom's favorite authors. This story is tight, concise, suspenseful, and sexy. Full of Soto and Lovett illos. What else could you ask for?"

End Notes

The zine includes some end notes by the author. Most explain where some of the quotes originated from, most often from old Terran sources. Some are from fannish sources.

I know footnoting is unusual in the fiction genre. However, being a writer myself and also having had documentation ethics pounded into my head throughout my educational life, I feel compelled to give credit where credit is due. Therefore, wherever I've borrowed someone else's words or ideas (unless it's something so common as to have become a part of our everyday speech), I've so noted it here. Since I, for one, detest being distracted by foot notes in the course of reading (and since I'm not sure how to make the damned printer do superscripts!), I've ignored the practice of notating with numbers In the text. What follows will never pass the MLA standards, but I think it'll adequately serve our purposes.

Some examples from fannish sources:

"I borrowed the term 'yellowjacket missiles' from Courts of Honor, by Syn Ferguson. I don't know whether the term existed elsewhere before Syn used it, but since that's where I came across it, I wish to credit her as my source."

"My thanks to the Star Fleet Technical Manual (Ballantine Books, New York: 1975) for pointing out what all those mysterious gadgets on the Vulcan lyre are called."

"Although I took mostly imaginative license in dreaming up the Vulcan term 'Ka Esch," I want to credit the "Vulcan Language Guide," (April Publications, Inc. 1977) for giving me something to work with."

From the Editor's Comments

Chris Soto has outdone herself again. Picture after picture kept coming, each one getting better than the last. With the exception of the two Suzan Lovett's, (lovely, aren't they?), Chris did all the work (the pencils are still smoking and she's started drinking -- or maybe she always did.... Ah, well.... Thank you, Chicanita. We'll have a real fight when you get taller....

Jenny, are you all right? Jenny? JENNY???!!! Well, the sensationally talented writer is taking a well deserved holiday. She is getting reacquainted with her sweetly suffering spouse. Can you imagine a man who not only allows his wife to love another man (Kirk) but goes to the extent of helping her in her fannish pursuits? YEP!! [Name redacted], take a bow - for telling her to come down off the ceiling, for asking her if she'd finished - for keeping her sane enough to finish, for staying out of her path to the 'fridge, and last, but never least, for the beautiful rendering of the 'fetish' on the title page. Compassionate, talented and a man to boot! I suggest that we kidnap him and....Nope, that's another novel. (Jenny?? Hmmm. Was that a gunshot I heard or a door just slamming?)

From the Author's Comments

A... I've honestly enjoyed writing FETISH (most of the time). I've made no attempts here to rival WAR AND PEACE or COURTS OF HONOR. Just my humble thank you gift to you readers out there who've said such nice things to me about my writing over the past couple of years (you know who you are). My general rule of thumb is, I write what I want to read, if it's not out there, then I have to write it so I can read it. That's what I've done here.

Thanks to Robin, that Damned Blond who made solid gold telephone calls from California to Kansas every week for a year to keep me motivated. Thanks to Chris, who turned out the finest gallery of naked and 'baby' Kirks this side of Orion (the Spocks are beautiful, too, Chris - but you know how I am about my Kirks.) Thanks to Bogie, my silent but omnipresent feline companion, who not only kept me constant company while i was writing this, but actually sat on my lap and guided my hand on the keyboard with his paw, and even accompanied me on all those 4 a.m. runs to the post office to mail outeach chapter to the Damned Blond. Thanks to my husband [name redacted], whose vocabulary over the past year seemed to consist of little except, "Settle down," and "Did you finish your chapter yet?" and "You drank how many cups of tea today?". Without these four friends, you might not be holding this thing in your hand today.

Sample Interior

Reactions and Reviews

1989

I read a borrowed copy of the new novel, FETISH. It has only one major flaw. The first time she deals with Vulcan sexuality between Spock and a teenage Kirk, telepathy is the major factor, but between Spock and adult Kirk, it is not.[1]
One story that really peaked my interest is "Fetish". I have been a K/S reader a number of years and this novel is not your usual story. It deals with going back in time to James Kirk's academy days where Spock can love a young Kirk but with many regrets. It kept the pace up until the very end. There is a great deal of wonderful art in this novel. I highly recommend it very much. [2]
Seldom have I experienced an emotional "high" while reading K/S. FETISH was the cause of the reaction. The author has wedded a damn good plot, smooth dialogue and an intimate knowledge of the characters into a cohesive whole. There are high points in this novel that beg rereading. E.g. Kirk and his Father at dinner - here the author has created a marvelous son-of-a-bitch that I found myself thinking, "yeah, Jim Kirk's Dad could have well been like that." What a mix of emotion that character stirred up, admiration, contempt, misery. The death of Jim's father and the young cadet's encounter with Spock was so plausible. Anyone who has been acquainted with 16 year old boys knows how close emotions are to the surface. Spock was his usual vulnerable self at that point. His inability to handle such a turbulent outpouring of feelings his quite characteristic of my pov with regards to the Vulcan. I'm sure some will criticize the fact that Jim is only 16 and see Spock in the roll of a user. However, if Kirk was mature enough to handle Starfleet, he is certainly capable enough to choose to have sex - despite the intense emotion of grief. Ofttimes that leads to affirmation of life. The fact that Spock is older and therefore deemed wiser and more in control is immaterial. Spock is in love and vulnerable. The meld, causing momentary confusion, pushes him over the edge. This experience of course triggers intense guilt - again, so much a part of the Vulcan. McCoy's discovery of the relationship and his reaction are classic. Kirk's confrontation (the older Kirk) with Spock and Bones actually gave me goosebumps. It was pure Trek of the series kind. The only "flaw" that really bothered me was Kirk's seemingly rapid recovery from the "Casanova Syndrome" and his willingness to give sex with Spock a chance. Two weeks of therapy? Well maybe. In summary, the dialogue was smooth, the plot terrific - I'm a pushover for good time-travel - Guardian of Forever story. The characterizations were sheer genius for evoking memories of 22 years ago. Please keep writing Ms. Starr. We need more K/S of this calibre. [3]
Jenny sells herself short when she claims this isn't War and Peace. I, for one, am glad. FETISH is just right. It grabs the reader and holds on to the very end. Although dealing with an underage Kirk and an adult Spock could have been difficult, Jenny's mastery of the writing craft kept it from posing a problem. Although the 'bad guy' was predictable it didn't detract from this marvelous story. [4]
With something in the neighborhood of the same anticipation I felt at my first real date, I awaited the release of Jenny Starr's novella, FETISH. Unlike the date, I was not disappointed. The basic story line is very simple, for 23rd century adventures. All that is needed is for Spock and McCoy to go back in time and prevent the Klingons from murdering Starfleet Cadet James T. Kirk. How the Klingons found out about the Guardian of Forever, and why they believe they must use time travel to kill the captain prior to his current self, is something you will need to discover for yourselves. Then, when they return, they find that there are major complications in their private lives which must be sorted out. As I see it, there are two distinct halves of this novella - the time travel sequence and the present time sequence. The time travel part was, as usual, well done, with two exceptions. I found the shifts from innocent naivete to bold lover to playful juvenile, through which our young captain- to-be takes us, too swift. Also, even though I understood it was necessary to the plot development that Cadet Kirk and Commander Spock become lovers, I wish it could have been accomplished other than it was. I found myself rejecting the idea that the 40 year old Vulcan could not control himself enough to gently redirect the the comfort he offered Kirk at the death of his father from sexual to companionable. Obviously, this is a highly personal reaction. The only other area which was less than effective was during the first half catharsis in the tunnels below Starfleet Academy. Spock's appearance on the scene is explained in an unconvincing manner. His method for obtaining the whereabouts of Kirk were ingenious, true, however it may have been better for Spock to have simply, coldly, told Timothy that the Klingon agents had been eliminated, leaving the threat in the air that he had single-handedly removed the three adults. Thus, he establishes himself as a person to be reckoned with. The explanation he did use broke the tension momentarily, thus not advancing the story. I realize that this sounds as if I'm dumping on this zine, but let me now tell you what made it so good. The second half of the story was nothing short of great. The character development and dialogue were right on for our intrepid trio and when Kirk leaned against his wall and calmly, effectively told McCoy, "Believe it", there was definitely no doubt in my mind. Jenny skillfully interwove seemingly inconsequential references and moments from part 1 into major forces in part 2. Particularly poignant and moving was Kirk's analysis and eventual recovery. I admired him all over again. As a whole, there was no part of this story which left me unaffected. I was amused, angry, sad, happy, excited, or relieved. What all this boils down to is that I was involved; I became a part of the story. Jenny Starr has created a setting unique to itself - a story that commands your involvement despite any perceived faults. On the whole, whatever may be cited as lacking or missing in this novella is far outweighed by its strength of characterization and technique. Above all else, FETISH draws you into the complex mind of James Kirk and makes you a witness and a participant in his further discovery of himself, his motivations, and his capability to really love and commit to a lasting relationship. How he gets there is not trite, not overblown, nor rehash of other story lines. It is unique, believable and commendable. I encourage you all to read and enjoy. A final note before I conclude. The artwork in the zine is exceptional. Chris Soto has again given us illos that are alive and breathing. Without her work, the story's presentation would have been less entertaining. But, as much as I enjoy Chris's work and admire her capabilities, Suzan Lovett steals the show this time! Her sleeping Kirk is so beguilingly innocent yet so sensually powerful it defies words. This final illo and the epilogue by Jenny close the cover on a wonderful reading experience. Robin Hood of Merry Men Press is to be congratulated also for her perseverance and dedication in bringing us this work. Special thanks to all of you. [5]
It is one of the best K/S novels I've ever read, which isn't surprising, considering who wrote it, Jenny Starr is an outstanding author whom K/S fandom is fortunate to have. In addition to being an excellent novel, FETISH contains a color cover by Chris Soto, many interior illustrations by the same artist and a couple of interior illos by Suzan Lovett. FETISH is about Kirk sending Spock and McCoy back in time to stop 16 year old Kirk from being assassinated by Klingons, who have also gone back in time. I admit that, when I realized this was going to be the plot, I was disappointed, since 'teenage Kirk' is not one of my favorite topics. However, this novel, despite its 190 pages in double-column format, moves very quickly and is thoroughly engrossing. The characterizations of Kirk, teenage Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the supporting characters are all extremely well done. The dialogue is fresh and believable, and the warmth between the characters touching without being syrupy or maudlin. The best part is, the story isn't over once Spock and McCoy return to the ENTERPRISE. Kirk and Spock have a situation to resolve, and Kirk has a lengthy therapy session with McCoy that is astounding in its realistic dialogue and plausible diagnosis. This second-to-last chapter is the most definitive piece of work I've ever read regarding Kirk and why he is the man he is. In short, FETISH is a must-read for all Kirk fanciers, and I strongly recommend it for anyone who cherishes quality writing. You're in for a story you won't forget. [6]

1992

A great story, well written. I love many things about it. I can see where we would argue the merits of the scenario, the arguably pedophiliac relationship, but I would call it fascinating, intriguing. I could tell from the first few lines I was really going to enjoy reading this — some really fine, poetic language; and it was effectively gripping from the first page. There really are too many details I particularly liked to mention here, but some of the things I loved and the very interesting touches are: Having two "first times." The "history" of 20 years before. The final frontier- bigotry. (Of course I quite dislike Jack Kirk.) Young Kirk's slang. About taboos: interesting, relevant. The Tarot, the Star card. Ka Bsch, child's passing. I like Ada. Mendez. Enjoyable, just for a change and just for a while, Kirk with a woman. I loved homoerotic dance. Spock's fantasies, his "mental masturbation": hot stuff. All of his musing, fantasies, daydreams were simply wonderful, and pondering his "voyeuristic tendencies" and romantic fiction were amusing. I mostly really like this Spock, at least with young Kirk. And I loved getting a good feel for who Kirk was in his young years; nothing rang false in any way. Whew - Spock and young Kirk, their first and subsequent times. Beautiful, steamy; excellent writing sometimes. Also at the end when Kirk and Spock finally get together — lovely, sweetly awkward. Effective tension, the Klingons/Timothy trap. But not too much anxiety or going on for too long. Just right. I was "nervous" knowing Spock would soon be returning to his captain, and how would he react? I was left wanting more reaction or introspection by Spock when he first saw Kirk upon returning, while he still felt in love with the young Kirk. I was perturbed at Spock for not at least trying to give Kirk a hint that something personal and very important needed to be discussed. Kirk's response when Spock told him what had happened with the young Kirk broke my heart. I never want Kirk to react this way -- so disturbed — but I don't argue with his right to do so. McCoy's cruelty was shocking. I did not like his reaction to what he saw -- so close-minded. But I liked his no-nonsense toughness in the sauna with Jim. Some good psychological insight, although a little too simplistic. My favorite of the art was on page 65 by Chris Soto. The best young Kirk I've seen. [7]
At that point, many K/S writers become unable to resist the temptation to have the characters engage in lewd behavior. An example occurs in the novel FETISH. FETISH is a superbly told story, with sensitive characterization, until it reaches the final sex scene. At that point, their first time together. Kirk grasps Spock's penis and flirtatiously says, "I've wondered just how big this thing gets." The effect is much the same as if in a first sex scene with Edith Keeler, Kirk had said "Wow, what knockers!" The author has strayed from serious characterization and into pornographic parody. This is a flaw in the writing that I think any reader should be free to point out. [8]

1993

Reviewing this novel now is kind of like being on time at the train station after the train has left. This novel has won awards and has been widely read. But, I guess there are still some people out there, like me, who are new to K/S, and haven't read it yet, so this is for you guys! Essentially, the novel is in two parts. Part one is a wonderfully plotted story of the Klingons resisting peace in the future, so they plan to travel back in time (via the Guardian of Forever) and assassinate a young James Kirk before he can grow up and become instrumental in evolving this peace. Spock and McCoy must travel back to the Academy where they are required to discover who the Klingon agents are and stop them before they change the Time line and their existence, as they know it. Part two concerns Kirk's psychological conflicts with himself and Spock's love for him... McCoy was fully characterized: blustering, sarcastic, vulnerable and compassionate. The character of Jim Kirk's father was also well done and there is very good interaction between father and son. It was very perceptive, and could be taken on many different levels. As for the search for the Klingon agent continues, there is an excellent build-up of tension: who is it? When will he or she strike? But, a very weak scene occurs as the character of Timothy discusses his entire plan while holding a knife at young Kirk's throat. Not only does this device of discussing the plot instead of having it happen slowdown the action, but it was ludicrous to have the character able to hold Kirk in that position without him either escaping or moving while he recounted what he was up to, for a long time. There also was a strange affectation that kept occurring throughout the novel. It was a constant description of the characters sitting habits: especially with their legs up, hugging their knees. I don't know why I noticed it, but it bothered me because it was several different characters who did this, so it wasn't a personality trait of just one, and they all sat this way a lot! The first sexual encounter between the young Kirk and the present day Spock is a little bizarre with McCoy asleep in the same room. Also, it suffered from a blandness, but now I think I know why. I've learned that some have had a problem with the idea of Spock with this young boy in that it might make Spock a pedophile. So I'm assuming the sex was toned down to stave off that criticism. For myself, it didn't bother me at all, in that Kirk is the aggressor throughout, and sixteen isn't twelve. I wouldn't have minded it being a bit stronger, but it was very affecting afterwards as Spock suffers from guilt and doesn't want McCoy to know what happened... Then we get to part two and here is where the novel almost fell apart for me. I say "almost" because it had some delightful moments and consistently maintained a writing integrity. But... the author portrayed a premise that Kirk suffers from sexual addiction known in the vernacular as "Casanova Complex". She researched it, explained it, footnoted it and defined it. But... I just don't buy it. I can understand how one could define Kirk in that way, but I don't accept it, at all. I won't go into my reasons here, but suffice it to say it really lessened the novel's impact. And it wasn't only that, there was a lengthy psychoanalytic session with McCoy as therapist and Kirk as patient, in the sauna. Beyond the fact that they would be very relaxed prunes before an hour was up, there's a revelation in Kirk's past that really bothered me. It did not bother me for the horror of itself as a memory, but because it was as if the author needed an excuse for Kirk being the way that she saw him. I'm not sure that explains it clearly, but was it necessary? A very young Kirk finds his severely depressed mother, dead in the bathtub, after she slashed her wrists. It just didn't fit the Kirk I know, let alone the Kirk that the author has portrayed up until then. Again, was it necessary as a reason for Kirk being fucked up?... Now there's the final scene of Kirk and Spock coming (no pun intended) together. Too much discussion weakens the emotional impact. I have read so many works where the author sends the characters on lengthy, endless discussions of everything. It takes away the drama and excitement. It robs the scene of the magic of their sexual contact by explaining and talking about every feeling and nuance of emotion. Believe me, the scene would be completely understood by the reader if all that discussion was pared away to perhaps some character's thoughts. Thoughts are good, talk is not...I'm not going to end this review without saying that I thought this was a fabulous novel, truly one of superior plot and design. So for all my fellow new K/Sers, this is worth buying! [9]
Okay, okay, it's K/S. So what? The basic premise is that the Klingons have decided to assassinate Jim Kirk at Starfleet Academy by travelling back in time, so Spock and McCoy must thwart their plans. The monkey wrench is that Kirk and Spock are lovers in the present but they had not yet met in the past. The storyline is a hell of a ride to begin with, and, to boot Spock must deal with his own growing attraction to the younger Kirk. Fetish is one of the handful of zines that have kept me up all night. [10]

1995

Why didn't fandom raise more questions about that novel? I guess the novel didn't offend me because the author wrote circles around the issue, trying to justify it, and I am usually willing to suspend my disbelief for good writing. So maybe I suspended my offense, too, and so did others? I loved the novel, for reasons that had everything to do with the fine writing and nothing much to do with Spock's having sex with a 16- or 17 year-old Kirk. (Which is what happens in the novel, so anybody whom that offends should steer clear of it.) I personally didn't think of Cadet Kirk as a child because the author pointed out that he was physically an adult, and his actions in the actual sex scenes seemed to demonstrate that he was both physically and emotionally ready for a consensual sexual experience. I guess if I'd thought of him as a child it would have bothered me a lot. As for his vulnerable state of grief, the author made it clear that the first incident was pretty much an accident on Spock's part — he was telepathically overwhelmed and emotionally confused so that his mind responded to the Kirk he loved, the older Kirk. He had no intention of taking advantage of the younger man.

I've always given the author the benefit of the doubt on that scene because the editor (Robin) has explained to me how she made the author rewrite that scene to justify it, and how she wanted the author to do even more in the way of justification. Why did Spock do it a second and a third time? The author hinted that it was because he just couldn't say no to that strong, charismatic personality (remember, it was Kirk who initiated the action all three times). Was what Spock did wrong? Maybe. Although we were never told what the age of consent on Earth (or Vulcan) in the 23rd century was. As a reviewer, I felt that the author justified Spock's actions just enough to get me to read on, and I was caught up in the rest of the story—after all, the situation created a doozy of a problem for Spock and the older Kirk. Come to think of it, I suppose Jenny could have made Kirk, say, nineteen or twenty. But then she'd have had to justify why he was still a virgin at that age.

The ostensible reason given in the novel for McCoy's not bringing Spock up on charges was that Spock convinced McCoy of his telepathic confusion in the first incident. And, I assumed, that McCoy realized that Cadet Kirk was of the age of consent. Further, Spock wiped Cadet Kirk's memory not so Spock couldn't be prosecuted, but for Kirk's protection, and so that history would not be changed.

So the author danced around the subject just enough to lull me into ignoring it or tolerating it, and overall the story was so well written that I didn't really care. Of course, I've always thought of Cadet Kirk as an adult, albeit a young one, so maybe that's the crux of the issue. Anybody who thought of him as a child would have to wonder about Spock's actions, as McCoy did. [11]
Concerning Fetish - Spock didn't just go have sex with some underage boy! Are we forgetting that was Kirk? That's his future bondmate, for goodness sake! If any of you went back in time and met the man who would be your future husband and he was sixteen or seventeen years old, would you not sleep with him because he was a child? Give me a break. It doesn't even matter that this was a younger Kirk, this is still Kirk! It wasn't just some little boy who Spock had the hots for! Aaargh! [12]
Regarding K/S in which one of the partners in not an adult: I feel the need to bring up my reactions to FETISH by Jenny Starr in this context. Should cadet Kirk in the novel be defined as a child? Should we also be disturbed by the fact that cadet Kirk was in a particularly vulnerable state at the time due to his grief over his father's death? In FETISH McCoy accused Spock of being a pedophile, yet he didn't report the incident to Starfleet or pursue the matter in any other way. Why didn't he? Was it because Spock wiped cadet Kirk's memory? Surely that places the situation in an even worse light than before, If he truly thought that Spock was a child molester then erasing the victim's memory so the victim could neither complain nor testify against the perpetrator makes the crime even more severe. Was what Spock did in FETISH wrong? Should he have gotten away with it? As a survivor of child sexual abuse I admit that I found the novel extremely troubling. It bothered me that no voices rose in K/S fandom saying that they had also been distressed by FETISH. I am opposed to censorship so I would never say that novels like FETISH shouldn't be published. Nevertheless I did offer it for sale because I was uncomfortable with keeping such a zine in my collection. [13]
I also find the Academy section of Fetish morally disturbing, and while I can mostly dismiss it as unthoughtful writing, I can also see how it could be deeply painful to someone who had been through a similar experience. I had actually just read it when Kayla made her comment in Soapbox [14] , and it was with that book in mind that I advocated editors and reviewers making an effort to indicate when the characters are under age. Shelley in her June review of "Second Time" shows how easy this is to do without attaching any stigma to the piece itself. That said, I have to say that it is not the particular age of the participants in Fetish that disturbed me so much as the unequal power relationships between the two characters which is exacerbated by Kirk's young age and inexperience. It is not clear here that Kirk is capable of reasonably consenting at that moment, but Spock goes ahead and makes a decision to engage in sex anyway. While I can't quite see it as rape, it was certainly a very bad decision on Spock's part, one that is too easily excused by the story's author. [15]

1998

Remember the conversations we had in this letterzine many months ago about whether there was anything inappropriate about Spock's relationship with the underage Kirk? I didn't join in the discussion at the time, as it had been a long time since I'd re-read the first half of the novel. The second half, with the long scenes in the sauna, is what stirs my jets. But on re-reading Fetish in its entirety, I found myself really objecting to Spock's participation in sexual acts with the young Jim Kirk, especially the second and third couplings. The first I can possibly excuse using Spock's own explanation, that he was seduced by the feeling of Jim's mind, which was little different in essence from the Kirk he knew and loved from the Enterprise. But even that is a very, very flimsy explanation. The Spock who could be so drawn away from the reality of the situation, in the past, on a vital mission, on Earth, is truly an emotional cripple,even worse than that portrayed in the novel, and certainly not functional. But no being of honor should have taken advantage of the utter emotional turmoil being experienced by the sixteen year old. Kirk was very vulnerable. He was only sixteen, and his portrayal in the novel is really that of a boy even younger. The teenaged boys I know wouldn't be caught dead acting with Timothy as he did, and the boy displays a strange naivete as well. It was just plain wrong, in my opinion, for Spock to do what he did, and McCoy probably forgave him a lot more easily than I ever would. That said, Fetish is still a wonderful novel, beautifully written, and I enjoyed every minute of my rereading. Robin Hood of Merry Men Press has it for sale even as I type...., as she keeps all her zines constantly in print. I recommend it for everybody. [16]

2007

"And that picture by Suzan Lovett, with Kirk sleeping on his stomach.... It’s to die for." [17]
Angie: Hello?
Donna: Hi, it’s me. Okay, has Fetish come in the mail yet? Have you read it?
Angie: Oh, my goodness, I sure have.
Donna: What do you think?
Angie: I’m not sure. There were parts I liked....
Donna: Parts you liked? You didn’t go nuts over the whole story?
Angie: Well, yeah, but.... Listen, Donna, Kirk is only sixteen in Fetish.
Donna: Through part of it. Maybe half of it?
Angie: The whole section where Spock and McCoy go back in time to the Earth, to when Kirk is a cadet at the Academy.
Donna: Right. He’s sixteen then, a first year Academy student.
Angie: And to have him and Spock consummate a love affair when he’s that age, I—
Donna: Now wait a minute. They didn’t exactly consummate it. It’s very clear there isn’t any penetration. You know, just hands and mouths. I think that’s okay.
Angie: I felt sorry for Spock. He was so confused.
Donna: Yeah, I thought the author did a great job of showing how much Spock wanted Kirk in his own time, how he was in love with his captain, and then when Spock and McCoy go back in time, how seeing Kirk as a teenager… [18]

2008

I think this is a wonderful novel, but it is a bit controversial (I‘ll discuss why later.) Jenny S. wrote some memorable K/S stories and this superb novel. It‘s so well written, with such wonderful portrayals of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and a very clever plot. In ―Fetish‖, the Klingons killed the scientists studying the Guardian of Forever, and used it to go forward in time. They didn‘t like what they discovered in the future - the peace treaty between the Klingons and the Federation, and the Klingons eventually joining the Federation. So they decided to go back in time to Kirk‘s Academy days and kill him, since he had such a significant role in insuring the success of the peace treaty. Since no one is sure what would happen if Kirk went back in time and met his younger self, he sends Spock and McCoy back to prevent the assassination. Which they do of course, (and seeing how that unfolds is all very interesting and includes a few surprises) but not before the young Kirk falls in love with Spock. The first two thirds of the novel is mostly told from Spock‘s POV, so we already know that Spock is in love with the adult Kirk. Spock comes to love the young Kirk, too. The time Spock spends with him and the promise he makes to the younger Kirk (before he wipes his memories) gives Spock the courage to tell his own Captain about his love for him, and what transpired between them in the past. Kirk has a lot of trouble dealing with this revelation at first, but with some help from McCoy he comes to realize his own feelings for Spock.

The author gives us complete and complex characterizations of Spock and Kirk. Actually, we get two Kirks in this novel. The young Kirk is perfectly realized, from his physical description to his innocence, enthusiasm, and idealism. There‘s obviously more than one way you could write a young Kirk, but Jenny does an excellent job of creating a background for this Kirk that makes her portrayal believable. You can easily see this boy maturing into the adult Kirk. Jenny also creates an outstanding portrayal of the adult Kirk in the last part of the novel. The family background she‘s developed for him doesn‘t contradict anything in the series and explains a lot about the James T. Kirk we saw on screen. I really liked how she explained Kirk‘s womanizing as sexual addiction due to the Casanova complex. I‘d never heard of this before, but apparently Jenny read a book called ―The Casanova Complex: Compulsive Lovers and Their Women―, and used these ideas in her novel. As she explains in the End Notes to the novel : 'Roddenberry and his writers ...gave us a Kirk who perfectly fits all the criteria for the sexually addictive personality.' This theory really explains some things about Kirk in the TV show, such as his inexplicable behavior of seeming to fall desperately in love with Rayna after such a short acquaintance. This complex and fascinating psychological portrayal of Kirk is well developed in the novel, and McCoy in his role as a psychiatrist helps Kirk to discover that underlying his sexual addiction is his need for intimacy and love, and he can find all that with Spock. If you‘re a McCoy fan, you‘ll love this novel because the good doctor has a large role to play, and the author has nailed him perfectly. I love his sense of humor and his repartee with Spock. There's some great scenes between McCoy and Spock in the past that are quite amusing, like the two of them squabbling in front of the young Kirk about how best to tell him who they are and why they ̳re in the past, while young Kirk listens with increasing confusion. The author also shows us McCoy‘s love for Kirk and his protectiveness towards him, and makes his anger at Spock for what he thinks was a seduction of the young Kirk quite believable. This relationship between Kirk and Spock in the past is the controversial part of the novel, and I have heard some fans say that they have problems with it. Although I feel that Spock‘s intimacy with the young Kirk is set up and explained well so that it is understandable, I know that some fans still feel uncomfortable about the fact that Kirk was only 16 and Spock was much older.

Which brings us to Spock. I just love this Spock. We get to know him the best, since the first two thirds of the novel is from Spock‘s POV, and the final third switches around between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy‘s POV‘s, but ends with Spock‘s. We gain a lot of insight into Spock from his thoughts. There‘s a lot of Spock‘s internal dialogue in this novel, and it sounds so very right to me, so exactly like Spock. We really see his dry wit, and I loved reading his thoughts about his exchanges with McCoy. The author does a wonderful job of portraying how close Kirk and Spock are at the beginning of the novel, and shows us Spock‘s unrequited longing for Kirk. She also shows us the changes in Spock as he meets and loves the younger Kirk, and then struggles with the emotions he feels then, and later when he returns to the ship. The final resolution of the situation between Kirk and Spock is wonderfully satisfying, and the lovemaking is tender yet very erotic. This is one of my favorite K/S novels, and I highly recommend it. [19]
This one took an interesting twist to the 'cheating on you‘ syndrome. First of all when Spock cheats on Jim, they aren‘t technically lovers yet and second of all, it‘s with a younger version of Jim. Now that took some imagination to write. And Jenny Starr does write fantastic K/S. Although I can‘t say as I see the characters in the same way as she does, I like the way she presents them.

In this story, Spock and McCoy go back in time to save Jim from an assassin. It takes place while Jim is in his first year at the academy. Spock, who already loves Jim, ends up having a brief relationship with this Kirk. Before removing the memory of their visit, young Jim forces a promise from Spock that when he returns he‘ll tell Jim how he feels. When Spock finally tells him, Jim doesn‘t take it well. He loves Spock too, but hadn‘t thought about their relationship going that way. This was where I differed mostly in my belief of K/S. I find it hard to believe a man of 36, who is as sensual as Kirk, doesn‘t have a suspicion he is bisexual. But the writer explains Jim‘s upbringing problems could have caused the dilemma. McCoy works with him through therapy. Basically, I liked the story. I found the love between young Kirk and Spock, very tender due to the loneliness of them both. Some of you might be bothered over the age situation, but this is a Kirk whose life has forced him to become more mature than his years.

And the sex between Spock and the Captain is well worth the time reading this. I didn‘t get to see the artwork from this because the edition I have doesn‘t have it, but I‘ve heard it is worth trying to find. [20]

2009

188 p. in small font & double columns. Spock and McCoy must go back in time to protect a 16-year-old Jim Kirk from Klingon assassination. The young Jim, fascinated by his future officers and friends, comes to love the tall, stoic, devoted Vulcan. But could his future self do the same? Fantastic time-travel story with great plot and excellent writing throughout. Good analyzis of the characters and their motivations, especially Kirk. Warning for sexual involvement between Spock and very minor Jim, but it is justified and made understandable here.[21]

References

  1. from The LOC Connection #3 (1989)
  2. from The LOC Connection #12 (1989)
  3. from The LOC Connection #6 (1989)
  4. from The LOC Connection #6 (1989)
  5. from On the Double #11 (1989)
  6. from Treklink #16 (1989)
  7. from The LOC Connection #39
  8. from The LOC Connection #44 (!992)
  9. from The LOC Connection #49
  10. from a Bill Hupe's top five favorite zines in a list in Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #4 (1993)
  11. from Come Together #21 (1995)
  12. from Come Together #21 (1995)
  13. from Come Together #18 (1995)
  14. "Soapbox" is the discussion section of the letterzine, Come Together.
  15. from Come Together #19 (1995)
  16. from The K/S Press #25 (1998)
  17. from The Legacy of K/S in Zines part three
  18. from a much longer hypothetical conversation between two fans, in The Legacy of K/S in Zines, part three
  19. from The K/S Press #147 (2008)
  20. from The K/S Press #137 (2008)
  21. 4 September 2009 Master List of K/S Favorites *Updated Nov 19, 2013*, Mary Monroe