Janice Lester

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: Janice Lester
Occupation: scientist
Relationships: James Kirk (ex-lover), Dr. Arthur Coleman (hapless pawn)
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Janice Lester is a character in the Star Trek: TOS episode 'Turnabout Intruder." In fandom, she is featured in many fanworks, mostly slash, as a tool to get Spock and Kirk together sexually.

Some Brief Canon Facts About Lester

Lester and James Kirk had a brief relationship while they served together in Starfleet. However, Lester grew bitter, due to the fact that as a woman, she would never be promoted to the rank of Captain.[1] She and Kirk broke up, and Lester left Starfleet.

Years later, while leading a scientific expedition to an unexplored planet, she discovered a device capable of transferring life energy from one body to another. With the assistance of Dr. Arthur Coleman, Lester killed off the other members of her expedition, and used the life energy transfer device to switch bodies with Kirk.

Kirk was eventually able to prove his identity to Spock through the use of a mind meld, and with Spock's help, regained his body. When last seen, Janice Lester was suffering from a complete mental breakdown and was being taken to Sickbay.

For further canon details, see the Turnabout Intruder and Janice Lester articles at Memory Alpha.

Some Examples of Janice Lester in Fanart

Examples of Lester as a Character in Gen and Het Fiction

  • Crowded Theater by Rob Morris (Kirk is disturbed by his Security men's ready acquiescence to Janet Lester's outrageous demands while in his body) (from Antares #10)
  • Thorn in the Flesh by Barbara Trimble. Kirk and McCoy transport down to a mental facility where one of the patients, Janice Lester, is scheduled to have a competency hearing to facilitate her release. (from More Missions, More Myths #8)
  • Turnabout Vengeance by Rick Endres (Janice Lester has returned to seek revenge on the man she blames for her present confinement: James T. Kirk. Her method? A drug which causes him to suffer what seems to be a debilitating stroke.) (from Orion #26)
  • It's Not Fair by Richard Dyke, Lisa Evans, & Rob Morris (Academy days tale, giving the back-story on Janice Lester's obsessional hatred for Jim Kirk. Janice was abused as a child by her Starfleet-hero father, and has grown into a brilliant but paranoid, self-doubting student suspicious of all men. Her Kobayashi Maru solution - to blow up the Kobayashi Maru because the crew logically must be already enslaved or collaborating with the Klingons and better off dead - does not pass review, and when she explodes at her failure to get into Command School, she is dropped from the Academy and heads off to Mars and megalomania. Nicely written, and it quite properly ignores the chauvinistic nonsense we saw in "Turnabout Intruder" to assume that, of course Starfleet in the 23rd century has women in command positions.) (from Antares #11)

Examples of Lester as a Character in Slash Fiction

The temporary transfer of Kirk to Janice Lester's body provide much fodder for slash.

  • Captain's Dilemma by Karen Humphries (The nightmares that plague Kirk after the transfer with Janice Lester only intensify his distress over his growing desire for Spock.) (also in JKS Enterprises)
  • Lester's Complaint by Leslie Fish, art by Ann Humphrey. (Janice Lester's side of the story.) (in Relay #4 and Naked Times #2)
  • Kirk’s Defence by Wendy Rathbone, art by Ann Humphrey (a reply to Leslie Fish's "Lester's Complaint") (in Relay #4 and from Naked Times #3)
  • Alternate Ending by M.R.L. (After Janice Lester dies while in Kirkʼs body, Spock believes he might finally have a chance at Kirk, who is now trapped in a womanʼs body.) (From Angel Unaware and Other K/S Stories
  • And In This Dream by Dovya Blacque (After his ordeal in Janice Lesterʼs body, Kirk begins having dreams of making love to a tall, dark-haired woman... as a woman.) (from Progressions)
  • Watching the Sunrise by Vera Barga. (Kirk finds that his sexual orientation has changed since his tranference with Janice Lester and that his love for Spock has expanded to include sexual desire. (from First Time #9)
  • Possessed! by Augusta Elton. (Kirk is angered by Spockʼs fleeting thoughts during their meld of what it would be like if Kirk remained trapped in Janice Lesterʼs body.) (from First Time #9)
  • A Lesson in Perspective by Connie Faddis (Connie extrapolates on what effect being confined to Janice Lester’s body would have on someone as caught up in being male as Kirk. Physical and psychological trauma from the transference and Janice Lester's hatred sends Kirk spiraling into depression and impotence. McCoy makes matters worse by plying him with aphrodisiacs on Wrigley's, sending him in search of relief he eventually finds in a drug den and causing a complete breach between Kirk and McCoy. Kirk ends up spending shore leave on secluded New Seattle with middle-aged, lively nurse Sajis Caffrey. (from Warped Space #20 and Relay #3)

Some Lester-Centric Vids

Fan Reaction to Lester

From fan in 1974:

... as I grew into feminism... and almost having a coronary the second time I saw 'Turnabout Intruder' and realized that Janice Lester wasn't the only one around there with delusions -- what about Arthur Singer who wrote the script and... Gene Roddenberry himself? Why is it, feminist fen demand, that Roddenberry can envision beings of all races working together in harmony, ships that can travel even faster than light, aliens who are neither cannibalistic nor giant snails, yet cannot seem to realize that women of the 22nd or 23rd century will undoubtedly fit very well in to the 'world of starship captains'??? Why was it necessary for Janice Lester to be presented as a madwoman, rather than a woman whose potential was wasted because she was a woman? I sincerely hope the ST movie, when it comes, will not repeat these mistakes.[2]

From a fan in about 2003:

In Turnabout Intruder we met Dr. Janice Lester. What kind of a doctor is she? She's a scientist. To be specific, she's a scientist's scientist. She was the leader of a scientific expedition on Camus 2.

Lester and Kirk apparently had been romantically involved (Yeah, RIGHT) for a year while they were both at Starfleet Academy, but obviously it didn't work out, partially because she was jealous of Kirk's success, and partially JUST BECAUSE. She bitterly resented the fact that she was not able to attain command of a starship, and for some weird reason she seemed to think it was appropriate to punish Kirk for that, even though it was not his fault. And he let her, at least for a while...

Kirk (to Lester): "I never stopped you from going on with your space work."

Lester (to Kirk): "Your world of starship captains doesn't admit women. It isn't fair."

Kirk (sincerely): "No, it isn't. And you punished and tortured me because of it."

Lester (softly): "I loved you."

Oh-KAY. Apparently Kirk and Lester had a rather kinky relationship. Moving on...

Dr. Lester had the completely wacky idea that the only thing that had kept her from becoming a starship captain was that she was the wrong sex. The fact that she was unsuited for such a high stress profession because she was a mentally unstable psycho apparently had never occurred to her.

While digging among the Camus 2 ruins, she discovered a life-energy transfer machine. She next killed nearly all of her colleagues on the planet, and then used the device to switch bodies with Captain Kirk, with the help of her loyal henchman Dr. Coleman, a surgeon.

Lester's relationship with Dr. Arthur Coleman is also a rather interesting one...

Dr. Lester is an immoral, mentally ill woman with delusional ideas and ambitions. Once she is in Kirk's body, she proceeds to completely screw up impersonating him, and proves to be a terrible captain in general.

Even when Kirk was burdened with her ovaries and hormones, he was more of a captain that she could ever hope to be!

Nevertheless, you do have to give her credit. She got the drop on Kirk, and she inspired fierce loyalty and love in her slavish goon Dr. Coleman, who was even willing to kill for her. She also apparently attained the position of leader of the scientific expedition legitimately, so she certainly did have a lot on the ball in many ways. Also, thanks to her, Kirk goes on record as being against sexism. Best of all, thanks to her, we are given proof that it takes more than male genitals to be a great starship captain!

So, everybody, tip your hats to Dr. Janice Lester, one of the most significant villains of Star Trek. [3]


  1. ^ "Your world of starship captains doesn't admit women." - Janice, to Kirk, "Turnabout Intruder" In interviews for the book Shatner: Where No Man and elsewhere, Leonard Nimoy verified that this was not Lester's delusion and that Roddenberry had intended a "no female captains" rule. Nimoy said that during production he had objected to the episode's message that women cannot do all that men do. "What [Roddenberry] set out to prove was that this lady, given command of the ship, would blow it." Sondra Marshak, one of the book's co-authors, adds that the episode "loads the dice" by making the woman mentally unstable instead of showing a rational female in command.
  2. ^ from the editorial of Sol III #1
  3. ^ [ http://web.archive.org/web/20120618155912/http://allyourtrekarebelongto.us/ti-lester.htm The Women Of Star Trek: Dr. Janice Lester] by Laura Goodwin