Games of Love and Duty

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Title: Games of Love and Duty
Publisher: Chained-to-the-Typewriter Press, then Poison Pen Press
Author(s): Susan Crites
Cover Artist(s): Mary-Stacy MacDonald
Date(s): May 1980, reprinted 1989
Series?: yes
Medium: print zine, fanfic
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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front cover by Mary-Stacy MacDonald
back cover by Michael Goodwin

Games of Love and Duty is a gen Star Trek: TOS 169-page Klingon-centric novel by Susan Crites. Cover art is by Mary-Stacy MacDonald; interior art is by Debi Barbich, Susan Crites, Hans Dietrich, Melody Frame, Michael Goodwin, Caro Hedge, Ruth Kurz, Mary-Stacy MacDonald, and J.J. Mars.

An except of this zine appeared in Sublight Reading #1 in 1978.

Its sequel is: No Peaceful Roads Lead Home.

From Datazine #2: "Games of Love and Duty has been finished (at last!). Projected publication date May 1980. This novel... deals with the reluctant relationship that forms between a captured Terran surgeon and her Klingon guard. Age statement required."

From the Author in 1979

I've got about 30 pages to go...

I've just been counting up in my head how many people reading this have heard the synopsis of the novel. About four, I think. Well, you aren't going to read, it in this personal zine. Partly because it is too long, and I’m too lazy to type up a four or five page synopsis, and partly because I don't like to tell the story like that. My conversational style doesn't fit it at all, as I'm not into deep and revealing emotional exposure on a verbal level. The novel is too full of gory details and explicit sex and complex feelings and emotional hangups. It's great practice for the 'real' writing I want to do someday. I guess I will say — just to keep things up front — that it is not a true Trek novel. It is merely set in that universe, and the Big E and crew kind of pop in at the end in their conventional role of rescuers. So Now You Know. [1]

From the Author in 1980

Everybody probably remembers I've been writing a sort of Star Trek novel for a long, LONG time now. Here is a pertinent entry from the Sufan diary I was keeping in November. November 16: "I FINISHED MY NOVEL!" I FINISHED MY NOVEL... It's all done! It doesn't matter that I was still sick today, and the cat wouldn't start so I was late for work, and it wouldn't start again when I wanted to go home from work...I FINISHED MY NOVEL!!!

What a nice feeling, I like it... I sure hope first novels are the hardest, though. Three years gestation is TOO long for anything. [2]

From the Author's Foreword

Novels have a way of starting under the most insignificant of circumstances. This one germinated on a hot afternoon in June of '77. I was attempting to weed my garden, a large farm-type affair.

The difficulty of keeping it in shape was compounded by Missouri's rich soil and humid climate, the two conditions dearest to a weed's heart. Tired, sweaty and disgusted, I thought to myself, "No sane person does this for fun! It would be a lot more appropriate if there was an armed guard standing by—and a Klingon at that, the fiend!" I looked over my shoulder and, sure enough, there he was. Going inside and lying down with a cool cloth on my forehead didn't help. I was hopelessly intrigued. The barest beginnings of a plot suggested itself to me, and I mentioned it in one of my 15 page letters to Caro. She expressed mild interest, with the kind of sneakiness only my clone could produce. Over the summer, I sent her a few excerpts that forced their way from my head to the paper. Next thing I knew, THERE I WAS! Chained to a typewriter!

(In case you haven't already figured it out, that is how Chained to the Typewriter Press was born. Two stories for the price of one today.)

I have often wondered if anyone else writes novels in fragments. Poor Caro has had to live the past three (THREE! I can't believe it!!) years in a haphazard couple-pages-here, couple-pages-there manner, never knowing whether I'd be showing her scenes from Games (which you now hold in your very own hands) or Roads (the sequel, coming Soon, ha ha ha) or—well, let us drop the subject of trilogies and short stories for now, shall we?

The clone and I spent several family fortunes discussing the plot and characters long-distance, not to mention marathon conversations during holidays which only ended when Caro's bod gave out and she accidentally fell asleep. Eventually the weight of the mass of excerpts was damaging my typing table, and I was also getting a nasty rash from the chain. So I adapted the bead-stringing technique I learned in kindergarten—added, combined, cut and polished (chopped, peeled, sliced, diced...) and son of a gun! It turned into a real live novel! Y'know, with a little practice, I could learn to like doing this…

Sample Interior Gallery

Reactions and Reviews


After having read excerpts from this novel in Sublight Reading #1 two years ago, I was eagerly looking forward to the appearance of this zine, and, for the most part, I was not disappointed. The entire zine is as interesting as the excerpts led me to believe. The basic plot involves the changing and developing relationship between a human, female doctor and her Klingon body guard. As a prisoner of the Klingon Empire, she is assigned to work on an agricultural planet while her ransom and release are arranged. Ariel Leavitt is not the usual female doctor, but then neither is her Klingon guard K'har the usual run-of-the-mill Klingon. Yet by virtue of her human attributes and professional thinking, Ariel is swept into the conflict between other prisoner who revolt and the Klingons. Divided loyalties are the order of the day. The ending of the story is the most unsatisfactory part in my opinion, but since a sequel is mentioned as being in the works, it is only natural that several things are left up in the air rather than being solved. I am looking forward to the sequel with equal anticipation to what I felt for this zine, but please, Susan, don't keep us waiting quite so long this time. In spite of the artwork, which is decidedly uneven (perhaps a result of using too many varied artists with varied styles), I would highly recommend this zine to any fan who enjoys a good Klingon story.[3]

Captured by Klingons, Dr. Ariel Leavitt decides to bypass the slow diplomatic channels and negotiate for her own release at twice the going ransom rate. While the money is being collated, she is sent to a holding area, a planet in Klingon space illegally colonized by Terran religious fanatics, and since repossessed by the Klingons. The main portion of the story deals with Ariel's relationship with K'har, the Klingon detailed to guard her. A crisis is reached when the former colonists break out and retake the colony. K'har must then choose between his duty to fight the colonists, his duty to protect the Empire's investment (200, 000 CR. in the person of Ariel Leavitt), and his duty to protect Ariel as a person. Although the plot is a familiar one, the story is still gripping and exciting, as we watch Ariel and K'har come to terms with their differences. Several juicy sex scenes add to the pleasure, as do the protagonist's verbal duels. Susan Crites' Klingons are real people, believable, fallible, understandable, if (as expected) often harsh and occasionally cruel. I found the novel a pleasure, and warn the author that a similar three-year gestation for the sequel would be a BAD idea [4]; I may have to come out to Denver and beat up on her until she writes it. [This zine is] highly recommended. [5]

While all but a few pages of this exceptionally well-written first novel take place off the Enterprise, and in a Klingon prison camp, the ST ambience is constantly present, and Trio addicts will not suffer overmuch. Ariel Leavitt, a young medical doctor, is the heroine and the story is told mostly from her point of view. The tale begins with a brief period on a Klingon ship, where the hero (yes, Klingon!) K'har is injured in an accident and then dropped on the prison planet to recuperate/whatever. Then the action jumps to Ariel s pleasure cruiser, ferrying her to her new job as Chief of Surgery on Durnin. Suddenly they are struck by Klingon fire and those not killed are taken prisoners. Ari offers a complicated ransom deal for herself, and while the Klingons negotiate this they have her confined on the nearest habitable planet—the prison camp. There the injured K'har is assigned as her guard and tent mate. The plot line deals with their slowly developing feelings toward each other, in the face of all the cultural and racial barriers! it is told with great candor, from his initial rape to their eventual decision to at least try a life together on the planet where her job is. What makes it special to the reader is the display of these character's change and growth as they evolve toward a more conventional relationship, both having radical adjustments to make in terms of understanding each other's needs and feelings. Feminism is news to the Klingon, of course, and his grading shifts in attitudes long held make for a very interesting read. Susan is definitely destined to move on to pro writing. [6]


It's not that this kind of plot hasn't been done before—female human gets stranded away from her kind and develops a deep relationship with alien male — but it's not often done as well as it is here in Sue Crites' novel. Ariel Leavitt, captured by Klingon scouts, strikes a ransom deal, but until the 200,000 credits can be transferred to the Imperium's bank account, she is dropped off at a work-farm planet for safekeeping. Predictably, she gets it on with her guard, K'har, a sort of Spock-out-of-Rhett-Butler, and after much tribulation in the way of sexual assault and a prison riot, Ariel winds up free while K'har's political status looks dubious. The novel is complete in itself, despite the promise on the last page of a sequel.

The writing quality of GAMES is the equal of the professional romance books, particularly the earthier ones, for there are love scenes (and one rape) in the nov el, but nothing overly vulgar. It's smooth, the characters are well-fleshed, and the plot—for a science fiction romance is believable and nicely interconnected. On its own terms GAMES succeeds admirably my only quibble is that it is a romance.Every entertainment genre—science fiction, detective stories, romance/gothics— has its dishonesties, its dabbling with reality for the sake of the story. They can be gimmicks, subplots, or characters, that eventually become like code words to the potboiler writer and devoted reader; "warp drive" to a knowledgeable audience readies them for a certain kind of story and saves the writer a pound of paper explaining. The dishonesties of romance fiction lie in its characters—the double-dyed villains and the noble bright heroines.

In GAMES, K'har is so noble it makes you squint, and to this quality is foiled in his culture, so base it was ready to let him die of a nasty by curable infection (for Ariel clears it up in a matter of days with water and TLC) in the name of survival of the fittest. It's a peculiarly civilized, curiously inefficient work-planet; no mechanization, a net importer of food, the human peons hoe the fields, and though Ariel is a valuable prisoner, she is allowed an astonishing amount of freedom, reacting little to her captivity, prostitution and treason. Aside from a degrading run-in with the Klingon captain, nothing distracts Ariel far from her smart-ass facade, not even her growing love for K'har. Since Crites is plainly a capable writer, these close-overs disappointed me, even as I thoroughly enjoyed the book on its romance level.

The illustrations by a host of artists, notable Mary Stacy-MacDonald and Sue Crites herself, vary widely in quality, but the bulk are mediocre. However, the printing

is clear and clean. CONTENT-4 GRAPHICS-2 $ WORTH-4 [7]


[regarding the two novels in the series]: The two novels center around a woman who is Dr. McCoy's cousin, Ariel. That is the only connection to Trek. The E characters appear briefly at the end of GAMES and at the beginning of ROADS, but the novels are about McCoy's cousin's long love affair leading to a marriage to a Klingon martial arts instructor. The first novel has Ariel captive among Klingons (Classic Trek variety, no ridged heads), guarded by K'har. She cures his leg of a serious infection and gradually becomes involved in his life - and he in hers. By the time tho ENTERPRISE arrives to rescue them, it seems logical for him to flee with her, only partly because she's pregnant with his child. (She has not been raped by him, but she isn't in love with him at that point, either. Or at least, she doesn't think so.) That scenario is recapped very briefly in ROADS, and in that brevity, it sounds ludicrous. Crites is such a good writer, though, that she made me believe every absurd word of it. I was leery about buying these books because fandom has produced few writers capable of creating characters independent of the E. crew. But I trusted Devra Langsam's recommendation, and not for the first time, found out she was right. GAMES is told from Ariel's point of view, and ROADS from K'bar's point of view. GAMES is set in a Klingon garrison, and ROADS on a Federation planet. These are novels about adjusting to an alien environment, and though they lack any serious plot involvement with science, I feel they qualify as science fiction in their own right. (The standard defn. of sf is "If you can take the science out and still have a story, it isn't sf." Under that defn., this doesn't qualify.) Both novels are deep, powerful novels in their own right, and I have yet to figure out why they are marketed as Trek fanzines when they stand alone so very well. It's possible there is no commercial market for this kind of fiction, science fiction devoid of science and driven entirely by pure, powerful relationship plotting. I, for one, wish there were! The only other place I have found novels of this calibre is in the K/S genre. Scholars like Joanna Russ have pointed out that one appeal of K/S to hetero women is that it depicts a loving, deeply sensitive relationship between two partners who are equals in all things. Such scholars seem to believe that modern readers aren't able to accept equality in a relationship where one partner is female, because we are culturally conditioned to believe female [equals] inferior. There might be something to that, but if we're going to break that cultural conditioning, we need novels like GAMES and ROADS, novels which depict two independent, heroic, lead characters admiring each other for their heroism and thus hacking out a relationship between equals even though they happen to be male and female. [8]


  1. ^ from Sufan #1
  2. ^ from Sufan #8
  3. ^ from Datazine #5 (July/August 1980)
  4. ^ turns out, the sequel was published seven years later
  5. ^ from Universal Translator #5 (September/October 1980)
  6. ^ review by Dixie G. Owen in The Clipper Trade Ship #30
  7. ^ from Bored of Review by Paula Smith, printed in Warped Space #45
  8. ^ comments by Jacqueline Lichtenberg in Treklink #20 (November 1989)