Killing Time (Star Trek tie-in novel)

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For other works with this title, see Killing Time.

Title: Killing Time
Creator: Della Van Hise
Date(s): July 1985
Medium: tie-in novel, print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: at Wikipedia

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front cover -- "It’s got a great cover, this book. There are Romulan women in gold lame togas, and a Bird of Prey descending over an exotic skyline, and Spock is wearing a red cape. He looks kind of stoically embarrassed about it. The tag line frantically insists that the galaxy has gone mad. It is a cover ripe with promise, for a book that over-delivers." [1]

After years of fannish complaints about how horrible professionally published Star Trek books were - and how fans could do it better - Della Van Hise (a prolific K/S slash writer and experienced fanzine editor and publisher) sold Pocket Books her Star Trek manuscript.

In a December 1982, Van Hise told fans that she'd sold the novel to Pocket Books. [2] This book was published in 1985 as sold the novel "Killing Time," a Star Trek tie-in novel. The first printing of the first edition of this book was 150,000.

Killing Time is notable for a much-discussed publisher mix-up, which resulted in the release of two editions: the first being much more slashy than the second. While not outright slash, Killing Time definitely depicted Kirk and Spock as closer than most tie-in Trek books did; something that has been a subject of intense fan discussion and speculation.

See List of Star Trek TOS Pro Books with Fan Connections.

Book Summary

From the book: "A Romulan time-tampering project leaves the Enterprise (and the rest of the galaxy) in an alternate dimension, where Kirk is an embittered young ensign and Spock is a besieged starship commander. Together they race to escape the plotting Romulans and return to their original timeline, before the unforeseen effects of the Romulan project destroy the galaxy."

The Rumored K/S Version

According to Gene Roddenberry's assistant, Richard Arnold, Roddenberry "received a letter from a woman who felt the book suggested a homoerotic relationship between Kirk and Spock... Following complaints from Roddenberry, the original version of the novel was recalled. The corrected version ended up in stores soon afterwards. Reputedly, there are over fifty changes from the first version to the revised version." [3]

In August 1985, the editor of Interstat wrote:
UPDATE ON KILLING TIME & ISHMAEL: The initial print run of "Killing Time" was 150,000 and it sold very well. But because of questionable material therein, Pocket Books has reissued the Van Hise novel and the revised edition is now being shipped. Look for it soon. And contrary to rumor, ISHMAEL, by Barbara Hambly, has not been pulled from bookstore shelves by Pocket, and there are no plans to do so. (Some of the above info courtesy of Eddie Egan.) [4]
In September 1985, Teresa Nielsen Hayden summarized how there happened to be two editions to this book, though she very incorrectly misidentifies the author:
A splendidly wretched story is going the rounds regarding doings at Pocket Books. They recently brought out yet another Star Trek novel, called Killing Time (seems to be an unlucky title), by Sondra Marshak & Myrna Culbreath [5] The original MS had K&S overtones: you know, amateur-written ST universe spinoff stories, some book-length, ranging from suggestive-but-mushy romances [that run heavily to Liebestod endings] to hardcore porn, all featuring a homosexual relationship between Kirk & Spock. Bizarre stuff, but it has a fair-sized, intensely loyal, rather secretive, and overwhelmingly female following. Anyway – Paramount Studios loathes K&S [6], and when the MS was sent for approval someone there marked all those passages for deletion. Time passes; Pocket prints 250K copies and ships out some 100-150K of them. Killing Time's been on the stands for a while now, and even though Pocket is pulling every copy it can lay hands on, and shredding the copies in their warehouse, it's much too late to get them all back. Apparently, somewhere in the period circa Mimi Panich's departure from Pocket and Karen Haas's arrival, an unidentified and gremlinish hand went through the MS and carefully marked 'STET' next to all the passages Paramount has asked to have deleted [7]. The friend who told me about this snafu read one of the objected-to scenes to me over the phone, and while it isn't the really raunchy 'He'd wondered if it were green, too' stuff, the tone is unmistakable. Cognoscenti are snapping up all the still-available copies; it's bound to become a collector's item, and as everyone observes, it couldn't happen to a more deserving publisher." [TNH] [8]

There had been ongoing debate as to whether a K/S version of the novel even existed. According to TV Tropes:

"The 1983 tie-in novel Killing Time by Della Van Hise was and still is thought to be originated as Slash Fic about Kirk and Spock. The truth is, according to author Della Van Hise, the original printing was from a non-proofed, and therefore "not approved by Paramount" manuscript accidentally sent to the printer. Paramount discovered this and ordered the first printing run pulped. An edited second printing came out shortly thereafter wherein most changes were minor single sentence or word changes. But this led to unstoppable rumors that an original K/S version of Killing Time exists. The author says, "There is no such manuscript." [9]

An example of this debate can be found on the Orion Press website:

"Once Pocketbooks’ editorial staff realized that this novel had been printed with K/S material (allegedly by mistake), it was quickly pulled and replaced with an expurgated version. It was subsequently learned that Della van Hise released the deleted, sexually explicit K/S scenes (along with others) to fans of that genre, allowing the readers to see the naughty bits which had been excised. Pocketbooks purportedly learned of this, and put an end to it."[10]

"Killing Time": The Fanzine

Some fans believe that the pro novel started out as a proposal for a zine.

In 1981, a fanzine titled "Killing Time" was listed "In the Planning Stages" (to be available in early Fall 1981) in Datazine #12, and an expanded ad was placed in 1983 in T'hy'la #2.

In K/S Relay #4, there was a full-page ad which said the zine was "expected Summer '82."

This fanzine was eventually retitled Time Out of Mind and sold in that form.

In 2012, one of the authors of Time Out of Mind clarified the relationship between the two works: "The fan novel [Time Out of Mind] is its own creation with its own cast of characters, none of which appear in "Killing Time." It was written before the novel "Killing Time."... Never was "Time Out Of Mind" even a template for the pro novel...."Time Out of Mind" was simply another, separate time travel story.”[11]

From the 1981 Datazine #12 ad for the zine "Killing Time":

'Killing Time' by Keith Donovan and Nathan St. Germaine, edited by Della Van Hise, published by Pon Farr Press. PFP is proud to be able to offer a new ST novel, which we feel will offer the best of several worlds. It deals with a Jim Kirk and Spock from an alternate time line who accidentally discover themselves stranded in our time line with no way home and several obstacles to overcome just to stay alive. Having been marooned on 20th century Earth for four years when the story begins, Kirk and Spock discover that they must enlist the aid of select humans in order to pilot the Enterprise back to their own universe, and even so, their chances of survival are slim. It is told from the point of view of Jeremy Karlsen, a NASA technician who becomes involved in their cause and finds his own life crumbling around him as a consequence. It also details the relationship which develops between Kirk and Spock, offering perhaps a more painfully realistic view of two men stranded out of time and out of place. Certain K/S elements are included so an age statement is required. ALSO, BE ADVISED THAT KILLING TIME IS SET IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE (of sorts), so the characters are often different than the aired-Trek heroes.[12]
From the 1982 K/S Relay #4 ad for the zine "Killing Time":
PON FARR PRESS is pleased to present KILLING TIME, an alternate-universe STAR TREK novel of a different color. Written by two relative newcomers to fan fiction, Keith Donovan and Nathan St. Germaine, we feel that KT is a fresh new approach to many angles of any Star Trek universe, and will (hopefully) stimulate your thought wheels for quite awhile to come.

Set in Earth of 1979-1984, KILLING TIME details the ordeals of Kirk and Spock as they fight a battle with Time itself in a desperate attempt to return to their own universe. Having been accidentally thrust into our world, they find themselves displaced and alone, without the means by which to get back to their own native timeline. In this alternate universe novel, our Earth exists concurrently with the universe which created Jim Kirk and Spock, but they are as alien here as would be a Neanderthal on the Enterprise. After several years of vain efforts to return to their homeland, Jim and Spock must, out of necessity, enlist the aid of selected humans from Earth — but only those humans whose lives would be "destined" to end without intervention... "ghosts", as it were, much as Edith Keeler might have become had she continued living.

One such human is Jerry Karlsen, a NASA technician who becomes involved with the two time travellers when faced with the unalterable fact that his own life is — theoretically — over. The story is based, in part, on Jerry's discovery of the "differences" between two concurrent timelines, and his (and others') dilemmas in dealing with Kirk and Spock, as well as his decision as to whether or not to accept their offer of life with all its implications and complications. As he learns more about Kirk and Spock, he likewise discovers startling things about himself — and the other people with whom the two displaced outworlders are dealing. But what point is Spock trying to make by continually questioning him about childhood incidents? What strange secret does the Vulcan withhold from everyone, including Jim Kirk?

Because of the displacement, and because of inter-dimensional overlaps which connect this universe to their own. Kirk's mind becomes prey to the peculiar psychic forces which manifest without warning. Spock becomes his one link to reality... a life-and-death companion. The relationship which ensues between the two is of ten bittersweet, a reminder to both of the things they left behind in that far-away universe, but their destinies are sealed together. Hut what does Spock know about Jerry (and perhaps others) that he guards so carefully? And why docs Jim Kirk succumb to a peculiar sensation of deja vu whenever faced with dealing with some of their Earth-contacts?

Because of the nature of KILLING TIME, it is being offered as a separate publication.[13] However, this novel does contain certain sexually explicit scenes — both heterosexual as well as K/S. Please bear in mind, however, that this is not essentially a K/S zine. The plot and the characters are stressed beyond per sonal relationships, but there definitely are scenes which may not be "agreeable" to the non-K/S fan. In other words, KILLING TIME contains scenes which detail the emotional and physical love which Kirk and Spock share, but the story itself does not rely entirely on that aspect alone. The inter-relationships of the characters arc secondary to the plot itself, but we believe you'll find the story to be a fascinating one whatever your personal tastes may be in that area.

Due to the explicit scenes, however, an age statement will be required (over 18). We anticipate going to press sometime around the early part of Fall, 1981 [this ad ran in 1982], and advance orders are (as always) greatly appreciated. KILLING TIME will be published offset, reduced-type format, and will be approximately (very approximate) 150+ pages — probably more. At this time, MICHAEL VERINA has agreed to do several illos, and we will be contacting other artists as well in the near future.
flyer printed in K/S Relay #4 (1982)
An excerpt from a flyer:
"Shut up!"he commanded in a rough whisper. "Just shut the hell up!"

"I beg your pardon?" Spock questioned, causing Kirk to jolt back to reality. The human had become so engrossed in the brutal attack in his own mind that he'd completely forgotten the intercom was still open. "Oh — ah — nothing," he tried to recover. "Just... talking to myself----" He felt his face reddening in embarrassment. Was this out-of-sync world finally beginning to claim his sanity? Was he starting to slip the way McCoy had done? Before Kirk could think of anything to say to the Vulcan, he became aware of the soft sound of footsteps on the carpeted stairs as Spock descended them. He looked up sheepishly, his face still bearing signs of self-recrimination.

Spock pretended not to notice; he was all too aware of Kirk's personal dilemma- For three years before they had found themselves in this alien environment, Kirk had commanded the finest starship in the Fleet. And now, hew as confined to the harsh existence of one world — a world the human had begun to hate for the things it had done to him, and the pain it had caused both of them as well as their contacts - Spock knew Kirk felt useless here as well as displaced, but there seemed to be little which could be done to immediately remedy that situation. Spock also realized that there was some force here — something almost psychically evil — which affected Kirk's mind from time to time. He bit his lip silently for a moment, trying to find something to distract the human from his problems. "I was quite pleased with Mister Karlsen's reaction earlier," he began. "I believe he may well prove our new theory concerning psychic awareness to be correct."

For more on this subject, see Time Out of Mind.

The Plot of Killing Time: The Book

The novel is classic fanfic, concerning a Romulan plot to travel back in time and change history. This results in an alternate universe. The Romulans murdered the people who would have established the Federation, but an Alliance was formed instead. It's dominated by Vulcans instead of Terrans and the Enterprise is now the ShiKahr. Many people, including key Alliance personnel, are losing their minds as a result of the altered timestreams. Meanwhile, the Romulan Praetor decides to negotiate for peace, hoping to affect both the original and altered timelines. Here, Spock is the captain of the ShiKahr and Kirk is a drug-addicted ensign who was drafted into the service after being wrongly convicted of murder. There's massive amounts of angst on the part of both misplaced men.

A few quotes from the original printing show that the subtext was barely sub:
"Why do you care?" Kirk asked at last, meeting the Vulcan’s eyes. And Spock felt himself weaken under the human’s scrutiny. He glanced away from the intense hazel globes. But the stakes were too high to permit intimidation to interfere with logic [...] The Vulcan shivered, glancing forlornly across the room to the discarded shirt. Yet he knew that no amount of clothing could cover his psychic nakedness; Kirk could strip him to the marrow with a single question. "I can offer no logical explanation," he replied truthfully.[14]
In seven years as command of the ShiKahr, [Spock] had never met a human who could arouse such forbidden feelings, who could wrestle emotion from him as easily as turning on a light.[15]

Differences Between Editions

In an undated explanation, one fan writes:
There are at least fifty changes from the first version to the revised version, some as short as a single word, others as long as a paragraph or two. Most of the excisions involve scenes in which there is physical contact between Kirk and Spock (for example, describing the warmth of Spock's hand on Kirk's face during a mindmeld). But there was also a sentence that described Spock's realization that Kirk was the person Spock was meant to spend his life with. Copies of the original can still be found in used bookstores and at conventions, so this book isn't completely lost yet. If the cover has raised letters for the title, it's likely to be the original; if not, check anyway, because at least some copies without raised lettering have the unexpurgated text. Better yet, just check page 41 for a passage that begins, "I understand that you were probably playing with dolls and wearing lipstick until you were twenty!" That appears only in the original.[16]
A fan in 1986 offered up this summary:
The first difference is on page 26. In the original, Kirk touched Spock's hands and Spock put his hands on Kirk's shoulder. Not so in the new release. The second difference is tnat Kirk's drug addiction was made less severe in the approved version; more like someone who has prescription sleeping pills and cannot live without them. Thirdly, Spock's pon farr was handled more delicately in the new edition. Finally, in the last chapter of the first release, Kirk says, "You may be the only Federation citizen to be sued by the Romulan Praetor for child support" while the words "child support" were deleted from the new version.[17]

In 1987, a fan offered line by line comparisons between the two editions in issue #5 of On the Double.[18] Later printings of the novel removed the most obvious slashiness, though plenty still remains. More information on the different printings and a comparison of the original and censored text can be found here.[19]

Read More, Archived version on the differences in the editions.

The Different Editions: A Quick Field Guide

From a 2015 eBay seller: "I had a copy of the "revised" book when it came out, and it had blank spaces in the printing that showed where the original parts were taken out. It was rather weird to see this."

Some quick text checks to know if you have the original, uncensored edition:

1. The book is printed in 1985 (not after that).
2. The letters on the cover are embossed.
3. Page 41 has a paragraph that contains the sentence “I understand that you were probably playing with dolls and wearing lipstick until you were twenty!”

Killing Time's Author Comments on the Different Editions


In October/November 1985, the author explained why there may be different versions of the novel:

"There have been a variety of rumors concerning Killing Time, most of which are quite amusing... In a nutshell, the unedited manuscript was inadvertently put into print. As most writers are probably aware, a book goes through many different stages in pre-production... Killing Time had at least three different editors at the publishing house, plus an addition editor at Paramount, plus the copy-editor. Each of those editors is responsible for certain aspects of the publication... To my understanding, what happened was that an earlier version of the manuscript went into print -- a version which did not reflect the changes requested by one or more of the editors. After the book was in print and headed for the Best Seller's list, the error was discovered... Regarding the rumor that it was 'pulled because of questionable material,' to my knowledge, this simply isn't accurate. I've also heard that it was pulled because the plot was too close to the fourth movie -- a rumor which is among the funniest to date. In my personal opinion, and not to reflect upon the views of Paramount, Pocket Books or anyone other than myself, there is 'questionable material' in any publication -- as well there should be. If all writing was done by formula and told us what we already know, then nothing is done to advance the characters or the imagination or the readers. In addition, I would also like to point out that most people see exactly what they want to see. If someone went looking for 'questionable material,' in Killing Time, they could find it... Just as beauty is in supposedly in the mind of the beholder, so is questionable material." [20]


The author wrote an open letter in April 1986 that was published in Interstat—see Open Letter by Della Van Hise Regarding "Killing Time"—an excerpt:
As to "the truth about KILLING TIME," it is simply this: The wrong manuscript was published, yes. And there are several reasons as to why this happened. As some of you may know, KILLING TIME was with Pocket Books for over four years before it was eventually put into print. And a lot can happen in four years. World governments can change power several times during that time span. So can editors and editorial assistants. And, in all that confusion, manuscripts have a tendency to be shuffled around, pages can be lost, entire chapters can be sent to Libya instead of Paramount Pictures, and the writer could be involved in 87.006 other projects by the time the book goes into active production. KILLING TIME had 4 different editors from start to finish. And a different editor is at Pocket Books now. At any rate, when I received the corrected manuscript from Karen Haas, her accompanying letter stated: "If there is anything crossed out in black, it was in some way objectionable to Paramount and should be edited accordingly." The key word is "If". I read through the manuscript, and found one seemingly irrelevant passage crossed out in such a fashion — a reference to Kirk's face reddening because of some statement McCoy made. My immediate reaction upon completing the read-through was, "Hmmmm. Paramount let the crack about the Red Shirts get through, and maybe we're finally going to see more books where the characters can talk like real people instead of using expletives like, 'Oh, darn,' or 'those horrible, nasty Klingons,' and so on." Since there was the one thing crossed out, I had no reason to assume that anything was amiss.[21]

From Della Van Hise in K/S - A Personal Experience, published in Naked Times #10, June 1986:

... it is commonly rumored that KILLING TIME was pulled from the shelf because of "blatant K/S elements". And, as I've said countless times before, it's all in the eye of the beholder. If you want to see K/S in KILLING TIME, you might be able to look deep enough to find it. But if one reads what's there, I personally don't see it at all — and neither do the majority of people who have read the book. In fact, I've been at a lot of conventions where people come up to me wondering why there was such a furor over the book. Basically, most fans who aren't in the "heart" of Star Trek fandom don't even think about the possibility of K/S unless someone goes out of their way to point it out to them. And when it is pointed out to them, the reaction is usually, "By ghod, I never even considered it. Got any K/S fanzines?"

As to the hooplah over KILLING TIME. I would like to state for the record that the book was not pulled because of K/S elements. It was, quite simply, re-edited and re-printed because the wrong manuscript originally went into print by mistake. Due to several changes of editors at Pocket Books during the production of KILLING TIME, the version which had been edited by Paramount was misplaced, and an unedited version was typeset and put into galleys and finally into print. No one had any reason to suspect anything was wrong until the wrong version had been on the shelves for quite some time. And then, of course, based on the fact that I have long been associated with the K/S genre, it became a foregone conclusion that KILLING TIME was pulled because of K/S. After all, that made a much better rumor than the truth, so... it's not surprising at all that the rumors became so wide-spread as to increase sales of the books by several percentage points. [22]


In a 2011 interview Della explains:

Back in the day (she said with a doddering, toothless grin), the main form of communication was through print newsletters that were sporadic at best. K/S (Kirk/Spock) was something new, and yes it definitely came up against its share of naysayers, hatemongers, and the like. There were often long-running arguments in the newsletters that eventually led to the drawing up of ‘sides’ - K/S vs anti-K/S - with both sides arguing vehemently for their point of view. In the big picture, I found that to be very healthy, because it gave people a chance to discover what they were passionate about. Love it or hate it... it got people motivated to write in, share their opinion, and mix it up. Sure, it led to some hard feelings here and there, but is there anything that doesn’t? People get upset if you don’t like their favourite colour or their favourite flavour of jello. I always liked to think of it as good, healthy debate - though all too often, it did become more emotionally charged.

I also discovered that the reason my professional Star Trek novel was pulled after being on the shelves for a few weeks was because one of those adamant anti-K/Sers took it upon herself to bring it to the attention of TBTB [sic] at Paramount that... 'Della Van Hise is a K/S writer! *gasp* And there is another version of Killing Time that is outright homoerotica!’ Well, nothing could have been further from the truth. Yes, I was a K/S writer (never tried to hide it), but there never was or will be an 'alternate version’ of my pro book. If people chose to see overtones of K/S in it, maybe it’s because there were overtones of K/S throughout Star Trek itself.[23]


From Della Van Hise's blog:

It was that obsession [with Star Trek] which led to the writing of my first pro book, KILLING TIME. Now generally accepted as the most controversial Star Trek book ever published, it nonetheless was published, and at the age of 24, that felt like a major accomplishment. I was a published, professional writer, and damn proud of myself. Puffed out my chest. Spoke with a vague hint of a British accent for a few weeks (even though I was born and raised in the deep south of Crazyville, aka Central Florida). Considered smoking a pipe and getting one of those corduroy jackets with the funny leather patches on the elbows.

Of course, for anyone who already knows the story, my victory was short-lived, for it wasn't long before the book was recalled by the publisher, re-edited, and re-issued... all without so much as even explaining to me precisely what the hell was going on. Turns out, because I was a known writer of K/S fan fiction, it was an Absolute Fact that KILLING TIME was a professionally published book wherein Kirk and Spock were doing the nasty dance on every other page, while McCoy peered in from the sidelines with a twisted grin and Nurse Chapel mourned piteously because clearly Spock was spoken for by El Capitan.


That's what it really was. Yes, I wrote fan fiction. Yes, I wrote some of the most explicit K/S out there at the time, though it would probably be considered tame by today's standards, and I have no regrets. But I did NOT include any of that in KILLING TIME - and whoever chose to see it in there was just choosing to see it. So, for the record, there never was any "super secret version" of KILLING TIME. I've heard all the rumors. I've even been called a liar for daring to say that the rumor is as ludicrous as those who choose to believe it.

But no matter. Despite all the infamy of KILLING TIME, anyone who read the book and later saw the first reboot Star Trek movie (2009) might just recognize the plot of the book on the great big screen. Captain Spock. Ensign Kirk. Time-tampering Romulans altering the past and therefore changing the future. Sound familiar? It did to me... but, hey, I'm just the black-listed writer of a very old book. KILLING TIME came out in 1984, and it is a fact that the contracts on those books were iron-clad. Bottom line - the writers of those books retain NO rights, receive NO royalties beyond a certain point, absolutely NO royalties on ebook sales (and KILLING TIME has sold a butt-load of e-books!), and, to top it all off with a bitter cherry, the powers that be can just take the books, plot and all, slam them up on the big screen... and the writer never sees a dime. Not. One. Dime.

Yes, I signed the contract. I write that one off to being young and stupid, and desperately wanting to be a writer. If I had it to do over again? I'd throw the manuscript in the deepest pit, damn the environmentalists, and light fire to the underbrush before I would ever sign another contract like that one!

Though I've told the story of what really happened with KILLING TIME many times in the past, I'll include it here in abbreviated form. Long story short, back in those days, there were at least 3 or 4 copies of the manuscript floating around the publisher's office. One copy was the original. Another copy went to the editor. Another went to the offices at Paramount. And still another (eventually) went to the typesetter. (For those too young to know what a typesetter is... look it up). So... what's supposed to happen is that Paramount does their editing changes, returns the manuscript to the publisher, at which point the editor makes any other necessary changes (copy editing, typos, etc), and then the twice-edited manuscript is sent on to the typesetter prior to publication. Well... somewhere in all that chaos, whatever copy Paramount edited got lost in the frazzle, and the original manuscript got sent straight to the typesetter. Not surprising, since there were at least 3 or 4 different editors on KILLING TIME from the time it was submitted until it was finally published over four years later. So... any relevant changes, deletions, alterations that had been made were not included in the version that eventually got published.

All of this, of course, became my fault. (Isn't it always the writer's fault when the publisher who is 3000 miles away makes a drastic and irreversible error?) Writers make good scapegoats, as you will undoubtedly learn if you are a writer or hoping to become one. At any rate, my editor was on the phone literally screaming in my ear, and all I could think was - What the hell was I thinking when I was thinking I wanted to be a writer?

I should be absolutely clear that I have no regrets about writing KILLING TIME. I don't even really care that it was made into a movie (and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt, let alone a screen credit!). What really annoys me with the whole shebang is that writers have always been treated like second class citizens, and probably always will be. Would it really be so much to ask for the publishers to throw even a small royalty for e-books in the writer's direction? After all, publishers have NO overhead where e-pubs are concerned, and just because they can get away with it doesn't mean they should. Then again... I was raised on Star Trek - a series that postulated the idea of good over evil, fairness above greed, and so on. But I tend to forget... that's still science fiction. [24]

The Author Sells Copies of the First Edition

Starting in 1987, the author began selling copies of the novel’s first printing in fan published adzines.

A 1987 ad in Datazine #50:

I have a very limited supply of the (infamous) first printing of the 'Killing Time' (the professional novel), complete with the 'good stuff' later edited out... signed by the author.[25]

A 1987 ad in Communications Console #4:

"The controversial professional Star Trek Novel! These copies are the original first-printing edition from PocketBooks, before subsequent editorial changes were made by the publishing company &Paramount! Signed by the author! Supplies limited." [26]

In 1988, the author began offering copies of the original manuscript. From an ad in On the Double #8:

"The original manuscript as first sent to PocketBooks. After years of controversy, see for your self what changes were made between the original MSS and the first printing of the professional Star Trek book. Signed by the author." [27]

Some Academic and Press Commentary

In September 1985, Teresa Nielsen Hayden wrote a letter to Ansible in which she gets a lot of things wrong, one of them citing the author as Sondra Marshak & Myrna Culbreath:
A splendidly wretched story is going the rounds regarding doings at Pocket Books. They recently brought out yet another Star Trek novel, called Killing Time (seems to be an unlucky title), by Sondra Marshak & Myrna Culbreath. The original MS had K&S overtones: you know, amateur-written ST universe spinoff stories, some book-length, ranging from suggestive-but-mushy romances [that run heavily to Liebestod endings] to hardcore porn, all featuring a homosexual relationship between Kirk & Spock. Bizarre stuff, but it has a fair-sized, intensely loyal, rather secretive, and overwhelmingly female following. Anyway – Paramount Studios loathes K&S, and when the MS was sent for approval someone there marked all those passages for deletion. Time passes; Pocket prints 250K copies and ships out some 100-150K of them. Killing Time's been on the stands for a while now, and even though Pocket is pulling every copy it can lay hands on, and shredding the copies in their warehouse, it's much too late to get them all back. Apparently, somewhere in the period circa Mimi Panich's departure from Pocket and Karen Haas's arrival, an unidentified and gremlinish hand went through the MS and carefully marked 'STET' next to all the passages Paramount has asked to have deleted. The friend who told me about this snafu read one of the objected-to scenes to me over the phone, and while it isn't the really raunchy 'He'd wondered if it were green, too' stuff, the tone is unmistakable. Cognoscenti are snapping up all the still-available copies; it's bound to become a collector's item, and as everyone observes, it couldn't happen to a more deserving publisher. [28]

This novel is discussed at length in From Slash to the Mainstream: Female Writers and Gender Blending Men (2005) by Elizabeth Woledge. In it, she describes Killing Time as "erotic but not sexual" and said that Spock and Kirk both "combine masculine and feminine imagery," and that it was not the romantic overtones that caused reactions from fans, but rather gender-blending.

This novel was also the subject of a 2013 essay at by Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer. See Spock Loves Kirk. Love, Della Van Hise: A Careful Consideration of Killing Time.

And in 2018, we have this version of the story, attributing the "deletion of slash elements" business to Roddenberry and not Paramount:

A popular subject among early Star Trek fan fiction writers was the idea that Captain Kirk and Spock were romantically attracted to each other. There was even an attempt to bring this notion into canon, though it was swiftly shut down by Paramount and Gene Roddenberry.

In 1985, there was a Star Trek: The Original Series novel released called Killing Time. The story of Killing Time involved the Romulans accidentally changing time so that the Vulcans controlled the Federation. This new reality featured Spock as a Captain and Kirk as his Ensign.

Killing Time featured a lot of intimate overtones in the Kirk/Spock relationship, which included Spock bonding to Kirk during his pon farr. These references were considered to be too much by Paramount, who insisted on fifty different edits.

However, the first printing of Killing Time actually came from the unedited draft due to a mix up at the publisher. Gene Roddenberry was furious when he found out about the content of Killing Time, which led to most of the first print run being destroyed.[29]

From an anonymous, undated online essay exploring what should and shouldn't be considered canon in the Star Trek universe:

This distance between Roddenberry and the novels started to change in 1985, when the TOS-era Killing Time appeared, a novel written by a fan who was active in the so-called 'slash fiction' scene (a genre wherein mostly-female authors describe homosexual pairings between otherwise-thought-to-be-hetero males, such as in the frequent (perhaps original) case of "Kirk/Spock" slash-fic). She had managed to keep a very strong erotic subtext between the Captain and his XO, one more brazen in earlier drafts. This was largely excised by the Pocket Books editorial staff, but nonetheless a pre-edit version managed to get published before Roddenberry and others insisted on its recall. Roddenberry was furious . . . not out of homophobia, but simply because these were his characters and his universe and it was being altered in a major way. Soon thereafter the pre-production for TNG began in earnest, meaning that Roddenberry was officially back in the saddle, and, per Richard Arnold, Roddenberry decided that it was time to have some more control over the books again. He was finally able to put someone in the sort of "production oversight" position he'd originally considered back in 1967, in the form of Richard Arnold.[30]

Fan Reactions and Reviews of "Killing Time"


Also at the party [31] we had a reading aloud of the passage in most questionable taste of KILLING TIME. We all agreed that the taste was indeed questionable and the answer to the question should probably have been No in the first place. I skimmed about in the book afterwards, and noticed that aside from questionability, the book is an example of extremely bad writing, in the very first sentence. Kirk wakes up from a nightmare with "something akin to fear clinging to the side of his throat." Now I ask you. There must be many fan writers who could write that badly, but I suspect that most fan editors would do a better job of editing. I notice that [Jo W] mentions this book as an example of a pro-novel that does change the Star Trek universe (I#91) — but it doesn't really. Presenting an alternate universe isn't the same thing as changing "the" universe. I think I'd disagree with the suggestion Jo made that placing one's spirit in someone else's mind and the presence of T'Lar are examples of the influence of fan fiction on Paramount's script writers. The transference of Spock's spirit into Christine Chapel ("Return to Tomorrow"), the soul-exchanging machine ("Turnabout Intruder"), and Jack the Ripper's body-hopping ("Wolf in tho Fold") and the presence of T'Pau as a Vulcan high muckety-muck are probably sufficient explanation. As for KILLING time, it must be in the running for Worst-Ever-ST-Novel.
Which passages in KILLING TIME (page numbers, please) did you find "questionable"? I have read the book, and while it was not one of the best pro novels I've ever read, I was puzzled as to what could have produced such a strong negative reaction as in your I#95 letter. I'm sure other people are curious about this as well. If the book's author reads INTERSTAT, perhaps she will see fit to comment and set the record straight.[32]
I was very disturbed by the inset in the last INTERSTAT concerning Killing Time. It seems that Pocket Books and/or Paramount has seen fit to revise the book and reissue it because of "questionable material therein." Now just what constitutes "questionable material"? Having read and reread the book, I am at a loss as to what is objectionable. I thought the book both innovative and well written. If Spock can't put his hand on Kirk's shoulder without sexual overtones, if they can't express any affection or trust without jeopardizing their macho image, then we are all in trouble. I don't want to see Star Trek fiction become blatantly explicit, but if Kirk has to keep one foot on the floor [33] if a female enters his cabin, then we all ought to drop a shawl over our suggestive piano legs and shelve Trek between Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. I thought Pocket was going to become more adult oriented. If they want to promote shoot 'em ups space westerns with a "villain of the week," they can keep their books and I'll save my money for a good fanzine. It is a pity that Pocket can't get it through their heads that good authors such as Crispin and Lorrah, who know how to write good Trek novels, could do more for sales than such epics as Shadow Lord or timidly revising Killing Time. I think the whole thing smacks of censorship.[34]
As for all the brouhaha about Killing Time, the word hasn't got out to B. Daltons Booksellers, evidently. I had not had the dough to buy the book for a few months, then when I did go looking, couldn't find it. Thought I'd missed out on what could become a valuable collectible if the rumor is true. However, when I did happen upon an apparently just-received stock of the book in B. Daltons, I wondered (and asked the clerk) if it was the "expurgated version" or the "unexpurgated version." she looked at me like I was from Orion, and I explained the rumor to her. Her reply was that if there was anything like that afoot, they'd have received a notice about pulling the books off the shelves. The imprint on the verso of the title page cites it as a "First Printing, July 1985," so it appears to be the original (and probably only) version. Rumors, rumors, rumors! [35]
Fortunately, I have an unaltered copy of Killing Time. After reading it I am mystified as to what all the fuss is about. To be sure, it was more adult than your average Star Trek novel, but I found it to be a welcomed change of pace. Finally, the characters were treated as the mature adults they are instead of as over-grown children. To avoid such subjects completely would be illogical. After all, even the Greek gods sometimes indulged their pleasures. Why Killing Time, and why now? Did someone at Pocket Books finally ask for a translation of pon farr and, as a result, get a lesson in Vulcan biology? We may never know. If they saw fit to alter Killing Tine, can Dwellers in the Crucible be far behind? Though I have only started this latest star Trek novel, it too has sone more adult references. Will they see fit to alter this one too? To make it fit for more juvenile consumption? Though I would not like to see the bed-hopping common to most Soap Operas invade Star Trek, such subjects delicately handled and used as a vital part of the story, such as was the case in Killing Time, may be just what we need.[36]
[ Alexis Fegan Black, the author of "Killing Time", wrote (November 1985)]: On other more "general" TREK news, I'd like to ramble around about the recent censorship of a certain STAR TREK novel. In case there's anybody out there who hasn't heard, KILLING TIME was temporarily out of circulation because of a mix-up at the printing end. Apparently the wrong version of the manuscript was inadvertently put into print — which resulted in one hell of a hullabaloo at Paramount and Pocket Books when the error was discovered. According to rumors (from an extremely reliable source), the book was pulled out of circulation for awhile because it allegedly "alluded to the possibility of a homosexual relationship between Kirk and Spock". Gasp! Who would have believed it! Who would believe it! I've read the book myself (about a dozen times…), and from my own personal standpoint, there's nothing vaguely resembling a Kirk/Spock relationship anywhere in the book, unless, of course, we begin to suspect the dear boys because of their friendship. At which point, we'd better start suspecting every male on the face of the Earth (or other world) who has a close male friend. I've also heard from a hell of a lot of K/S fans who say they've looked for K/S and can't find it, so... I think the David Gerrold's of the world have made a lasting impression on the powers that be at Paramount… Now… I also have it on good authority that some rabid anti-K/S activist is responsible for about 99.9% of all the hassle with "Killing Time". Some people make it their business to send fanzines to Paramount.[37]
I am in the "juvenile" age group, and I did read both "Killing Time" and "Dwellers in the Cruci ble." I was surprised, not shocked, but just surprised when reading some of the contents in these books. Besides those certain areas, they were both tremendous books,but was the rest necessary? I agree, the scenes in" Killing Time" did seem to be necessary. After all, pon farr is a natural occurrence in Vulcan life, and it could not be controlled by Spock. But the fact that Clante in "Dwellers" had slept in every bed from here to Antares didn't look like the morality in Star Trek that I am used to. As you realize, most of today's teenagers wouldn't give them a second glance, but I did. I hope that nothing more "adult" is written into the professional ST novels—adults can read it somewhere else besides Star Trek.[38]
I'd heard talk about the recalling of "Killing Time." But that's what I thought it was: talk. So I didn't pay any attention to the rumor. After all, the book was number 5 on my local bookstore's best seller list at the time. Unfortunately, it is no rumor. The second printing of "Killing Time" has indeed been censored. Regardless of how one feels about the story's plot line or the writing quality or the writer, everyone should feel something about censorship. One would suppose this novel went through several editors on its way to the print shop, so why wasn't something done then before it hit the stores? If it was questionable in print, then wouldn't you assume it had to be questionable in manuscript? For those Doubting Thomas's out there, the way to tell first printing (un-censored) from second printing (censored) is on the copyright page. Below the line which states when the first printing was out (July, 1985). There is a series of numbers 10 through 1. If the 1 is there you have the first printing. If the 1 is missing—10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2—then you have the second printing. If you're looking for some publisher acknowledgement of the change, forget it. There is none. Just the printing history. One only has to compare the two printings to see the changes. Page 304 "His eyes closed, and he took a deep breath as the warmer-than-human hand settled against the side of his face." This was cut entirely from the second printing. First printing: "For a moment, there was only the euphoria associated with the meld...but that surrealism faded as his mind's eye suddenly opened." Second printing: "For a moment there was only the surreal quality associated with the meld." The first printing had the emotional quality that we are used to seeing between these two men on the screen. One cannot deny the emotional intensity and the degree of caring between Kirk and Spock during the death scene in THE WRATH OF KHAN and all through THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK. Whoever took the red pen to the novel consistently cut out the scenes that showed any physical contact between the two men. Having seen all of the movies, the changes made at the end of this book, specifically 292-294, seem rather perverse. Has Hollywood homophobia found its way into the editing halls of Pocket Books? [39]
This does not mean I am not aware of how to manipulate language, however. Ruth Berman, you hit the nail on the head! Killing Time is very definitely an example of extremely bad writing. Face it, there are two general categories into which fanzine writing falls: stories written for fanzines, and fanzine writing. The first category includes well-written, plausible stories in which the author has paid considerable respect to detail and characterization. Examples of these stories can be found in Star Trek: The New Voyages. The second category involves stories in which a character can wake from a nightmare with "something akin to fear clinging to the side of his throat," to use Ms. Berman's example. (Having been the victim of an aspirin that decided to dissolve in my throat instead of my stomach, I really pity poor Kirk. Imagine having an intangible emotion stuck down there. Yaargh!) In my opinion. Killing Time is an example of pro-publishing fanzine writing. (The second category.) Where was the copy editor on this one? For one thing, the plot was hardly original; it contained every convention ever conjured up in fanzine writing. (Name the story: the author wants the characters to, but they wouldn't do that normally. Presto! Our heroes find themselves in (drumroll) ... an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. Name the story: due to highly unusual circumstances, Spock goes into a premature pon farr. Fortunately, there is a woman nearby to ease his suffering. Once again, it's (drumroll) ... the ROMULAN COMMANDER. God, does that woman do anything else besides chase after the Enterprise? Moreover, the alternate universe was not alternate enough. If the Vulcans were in control of the Federation, and Starfleet, then shouldn't they be more bellicose than in the "real" universe? Also, if Captain Spock can act as a psionic rapist and literally force himself on his crew, would he necessarily regret his actions afterwards? Especially if they had such a beneficial result for his victim (Kirk?). Why did McCoy's personality not change at all? Shouldn't everyone have been affected to some degree? The whole fabric of the universe was supposedly altered, was it not? There should have been a number of differences, I think. Another complaint of mine is the amount of physical affection that was exchanged between Kirk and Spock. No, this does not mean that I'm reversing the position I took about Uhura's Song. I still submit that Spock doesn't cringe when he helps fellow crewmembers to their feet after a shaky ride on the Enterprise. He helps Kirk to his feet, and accepts the same help from Kirk, in return. The other forms of touch between Kirk and Spock, however, are special—because these moments are rare. When these men touch, it is a significant, meaningful gesture. In "And the Children Shall Lead," Kirk was at his most vulnerable. It was the combination of Spock calling to him and accepting Kirk's need to literally cling to him that enabled Kirk to set aside his fear. Likewise, after his contact with V'Ger, Spock needed to feel the touch of a friend. Kirk understood this, and was there for him. Kirk does touch Spock affectionately from time to time, but it is just that—a light touch, nothing more. The constant affection between the two men in Killing Time cheapens the significance of their touching. I'm sorry to see this happen. The last point I want to bring up is the use of language. (Sorry, I'm also a copy editor.) Ms. Berman is quite right—Kirk's nightmare is a nightmare! Having Kirk wake up in a cold sweat would have been far more effective than having fear cling to his throat. Moreover, I thought that if Dr. McCoy bounced on his toes one more time, he was going to sprout wings. Also, Captain Kirk should not say, "I dunno." It is a subtlety that should be made in print in order to set Kirk, a figure of authority, apart from his officers and crew. Spock would say, "I do not know," Ensign Kirk could say, "I dunno," a yeoman or security guard would say, "I dunno," but Captain Kirk should say, "I don't know." Dialogue should serve as a device for characterization. Ms. Van Hise should learn this. So, Ruth Berman, if you want to nominate Killing Time for Worst-Ever-ST-Novel, I'll be willing to second the notion.[40]
I read this book four months ago, right before I went into Basic Training. It was and one of those hard to put down books, and I managed to read it on the plane before I even got to the Reception Station at Fort Dix. I was fascinated (to coin a phrase from one of my favorite characters) by the idea presented in the book, that a single event changed in the past can change the course of history in the entire galaxy. It also made a good deal of sense that history could not be changed without also causing a lot of changes to occur in the lives of people of the future. In KILLING TIME, history was changed by a ship of Romulans who knew both the real and the changed course of history. But the people who were most affected by the change started having conflicts within themselves -- they "remembered" the other history. And, as a result, many of these people started to go insane, especially among the Romulan population. The Federation people, Kirk and Spock among them, mainly had bad dreams at night, but these dreams also haunted their waking hours. It was finally decided by the Romulans that they had to undo what they had done in order to resume the real history, and prevent their people from all going insane. With the help of the now-Captain Spock and Ensign Kirk, the Romulans do manage to change history — back to what it originally was. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It shows that no matter the well-meaning or evil intent of changing history, it doesn't always work out for the best. In fact, changing history will probably never turn out the way you want it to. It could be that changing history a decade or so back wouldn't have that much effect on the present, but attempts to change history centuries in the past would definitely have a detrimental effect on the present, especially if the people involved weren't killed outright, or never born, just changed in little or big ways. I imagine it we had examined the world that the living Edith would have produced, we would have found the same situation people unable to cope with what they had become. I rate the book an 8, mainly because we get to see our favorite characters in different roles.[41]
I just finished Delia Van Hise's Killing Time -- the latest Pocket "pro" novel. Please, please do a campaign to kill sales for this book. It's all the worst K/S cliches: Kirk is a love object, an incompetent who would be a hopeless loser without Spock to prop him up; the minute Kirk and Spock's eyes meet "across a crowded room" they know. And, of course, everybody else knows -- even the lowliest Romulan knows "these two" belong together. (Low violins on the word "together.") The plot is standard K/S fare -- an alternate universe where, separated, each has sunk or risen to his rightful level -- Spock is a Captain, Kirk a hopeless misfit, a drug addict, unpopular, mistreated -- given a last chance by being stuck on Spock's ship as a lowly ensign. Spock takes one look at that "golden hair" (never mind that it's brown) and "lovely hazel eyes" and his heart goes "boom-boom-boom." It's done so cornily (standard K/S, I warned you) that it's only fit for reading aloud to mock! There are Romulans about, to provide an enemy, a semblance of a plot, and to keep the censors at bay -- a quickie pon farr on Spock's part, solved by a quickie with the Romulan Commander (of "Enterprise Incident" fame). She's now a big deal in Romulan politics, but women are really discriminated against there (never mind that this directly contradicts the series) and she kidnaps Kirk to blackmail Spock into playing games with her (besides the one.- mentioned above). Kirk and Spock, of course, have an instant telepathic bond (we delicately avoid any suggestion of sex in this context) and Kirk signals Spock with it. So, our resourceful hero rescues his golden-haired darling just in time for a quick flurry of action before we restore everybody to their "proper positions" in the universe as we know it. I could spend another page listing the reasons why Van Hise's background set up makes no sense -- suffice it to say, her logic won't bear any inspection. What keeps Marshak and Culbreth marginally decent is that they have better sense -- they verge on K/S but see it as a partnership of "mythic" proportions -- not an unequal love match. It affronts me that Pocket published this -- I have no objection to K/S as a genre, so long as it stays where it belongs -- as a genre, not as published, authorized Trek! Please encourage your readers, to avoid this book![42]
As most of you have undoubtedly heard by now, the professional Star Trek book, KILLING TIME by Delia Van Hise, was temporarily unavailable because of hassles with Paramount and PocketBooks, What you might not know is that this was caused primarily because of "K/S" — and the misunderstanding of it which runs rampant at Paramount. Basically, for anyone who has read some of the pro Trek books, it's easy to see that "allusions to K/S" are a lot more prominent in other books than they were in KILLING TIME. So why was KT singled out? Mainly because the author had an involvement in K/S writing and editing which went back several years rather than because of the content of the book itself.[43]
I enjoyed it a lot and even if you're not looking for K/S, it's a good adventure yarn. But if you are looking for K/S, that's the place to be. In fact, talk to Pocket Books about the edition they allowed to get out of their hands unedited and then go out and buy the new edition and check out the changes. I feel KT is one of the best feeling Trek books to come out of Pocket and hope you all write them to ask for more of Delia's work.[44]

There really is a revised (i.e., censored) second printing

of Killing Time. [A fan I knew] had gone through and marked all of the changes from the first printing. She said many of them were downright absurd. Not that that book did not need editing —I t did, desperately, and obviously did not receive it — but it didn't need to be censored. Just rewritten. (If rewriting it would help — which I'm inclined to doubt.) [45]

When the Romulans tamper with Federation history in Della Van Hise's first book, Killing Time, they don't quite get the results they expected. By murdering the officials who created the beginnings of the Federation itself, the Romulans have made what the author refers to as Second History.

Unbelievably, Spock is a Starship Captain, Chekov is his First Officer and Kirk becomes a newly drafted, drug addicted ensign. Anyone whose life has been altered in some way because of Second History is now experiencing nightmares and flashes of deja vu of their lives before the time tampering.

Now the Alliance's Vulcan admiral has ordered an illogical full-scale attack on the Romulan Empire while a crewmember attempts to blow up the ship.

It's a race against time itself for the altered crew of the Enterprise to correct history before the madnesss totally overcomes the galaxy.

Della Van Hise has managed to capture and define the true brother-like relationship between Kirk and Spock while maintaining the humor, suspense and adventure found in most good Star Trek novels. [46]


Star Trek pro book writer A.C. Crispin wrote (February 1986):
(1) The truth about KILLING TIME is that Paramount originally approved the book in an edited form, and that somehow (nobody seems to know exactly what happened) either the unedited version got sent down to the composers to be translated into galleys, or somehow the edited-out material was restored to the galleys through a misunderstanding in the composing department. Whichever reason applies, the books were printed containing material that Paramount had deleted from their approved version of the book. When the error was discovered, Pocket ordered the books recalled, and the ones still in the warehouse shredded for hamster bedding (this indignity happens to most returned books). The galleys were redone and a new printing ensued, with the edited material deleted this time around. That's what happened. As to what the edited-out material was, and why Paramount found it objectionable (as well as my personal opinion of the quality of the writing), I can't comment, for obvious professional and ethical reasons. A close study of both versions should give folks a pretty good idea of what's going on. And, for those of you who are screaming "censorship!" it isn't at all. The book was purchased contingent upon those changes being made — that they were not made in the first printing doesn't alter that fact. First-time authors don't have many rights in these matters, but Ms. Van Hise could have said "no," and that would have been the end of it (and of her book being published). So, no matter how she personally felt about the editing, Ms. Van Hise obviously agreed to the changes. My reaction upon hearing about the boondoggle was to race out and buy a dozen copies of the first printing. I figure they'll be collector's items someday. (So anyone who wants one can send me $5.00 plus two 22-cent stamps and I'll mail 'em one.) [47]
Linda S wrote (February 1986):
H I skipped Killing Time myself, mainly because my eye caught that infamous sentence on the first page; I wasn't about to waste 3 bucks and 2 hours on 300+ pages of that sort of thing. (My reaction was, Kirk was lucky it wasn't an ice cube. Ever swallow one? OUCH!) Your summary of the plot makes me glad I passed it up. For one thing, I loathed Commander Birdbrain, that sexist caricature of a woman In power, from the first time I saw "The Enterprise Incident," and try to avoid any material In which she appears. I'm with you; it beats me why some people aren't happy unless Kirk and Spock are constantly pawing each other. I'd think they'd have other things to do with their hands—work, maybe. I doubt that Starfleet is paying them to turn the bridge of the Enterprise into a massage parlor.[48]
T'Purr wrote (Feb-Mar 1986):
Thoroughly enjoyed it, especially considering the average caliber of pro Trek novels. Almost as much fun was reading all the rumors about first edition versions of the novel that supposedly contained K/S scenes that somehow slipped past the editors. Get serious! Even if something like that could get past all the editors, proofreaders, etc. to actually be printed, I can't see Della jeopardizing her very promising professional writing career by trying something like that. For those who are familiar with her fan writing, it was easy to read K/S possibilities into the book as it was as it was published, but I seriously doubt that anything more explicit appeared in any professionally published version. Has anyone seen anything to prove me wrong? [49]
Regina M wrote (March 1986):
In I#98, [Arden L] wrote that "the plot was hardly original; it contained every convention ever conjured up in fanzine writing," Having read a large number of zines the past six months, I can't disagree with you. However. when I read the novel back in June, I had never seen a fanzine, and felt the story was very fresh and original. In fact, it was — and still is — my favorite of the pro novels. I don't think Pocket Books would be publishing ST novels if they thought the only people who buy them are fanzine readers. There are a lot of "non-fandom" Trek fans out there who's only tie to the show "beyond the screen" are the pro novels. My point is, I think it was unfair to criticize the novel for being similar to a zine story. Granted, Arden was writing a letter that was being read only by other fanzine readers, but I think those who have been in fandom a long time forget there are a lot of people who love Star Trek, but know nothing of clubs, zines, conventions, etc. (Of course, some choose not to get involved. But there are others who are not active in fandom because they simply don't know how to get into it. I had a tough time learning how to obtain fanzines. The information simply isn't accessible to the general public.) The "personal" flavor of Killing Time, and the more open affection between Kirk and Spock, was new to me at the time I read it. I enjoyed it a great deal, and I'm sure many other non-zine readers have similar feelings. [Cheryl B] wrote of some of the changes in Killing Time in the second printing. I believe her letter gives the impression that mere sentences were cut here and there. That Is the case through most of the book, but chapter fourteen was slaughtered! There are over five hundred words deleted from this chapter, which I'm sure most will agree — whether or not they liked the book— that it was a critical chapter in the story. I can't help but imagine the scenario five or ten years from now: People who loved ST VI or VII, or who just discovered the series reruns, decide to collect the usual books and memorabilia. They get wind of the book that was "pulled off the shelves because it contained questionable material." Of course, these new fans will feel they must obtain a copy of this forbidden work. They finally do, and pay a collector's price for it. Then they sit down to read all the questionable parts, and are deeply disappointed to find that these parts really aren't "questionable" at all! I find this scenario humorous, sad, and inevitable. 4. Obviously, I'm not happy with the original version being pulled from the shelves, but I'll take that up with Pocket Books. I offer the following advice for those who have not read the book, or only read the second printing: If you are a person who is warmed by the affection between Kirk and Spock, do yourself a favor and try to obtain the first printing. Otherwise, stick with the edited version. You won't be missing out on ouch, except the intensity of the confusion felt by both Kirk and Spock in chapter 14.[50]
Mary F. G wrote (May 1986):
I have seen and read a lot of comments about KILLING TIME and I want to say at the start, I liked it. It was interesting. Ms. Van Hise is a talented writer and I look forward to future offerings. I really wonder why everyone seems to jump on the "Get Della" band wagon. What is their motive? I really believe that the attitude of those critics are reading much more into her book than is there. I speak of the first printing that was pulled off, re-edited and reprinted. With no background other than the movies and the series to go on, I can imagine what people are thinking. They wonder what all the shouting is about. Those of us who have read Ms. Van Hise's non-pro novels and stories should not read into the book more than is there. I can't find anything offensive about it. If one reads more than is there into the novels, why hasn't someone made a comment on the two heroines in DWELLERS IN THE CRUCIBLE. They are much like Kirk and Spock, they are of different origins, but their friendship is just as intense as our heroes. It could also be interpreted in the same way as Kirk's and Spock's seems to be. Is the reason, perhaps, that Ms. Bonanno hasn't ever wrote one of THOSE novels before her book was published? I think this homophobia is nonsense. Where will it lead? Or has it already led to censorship? Will we live to see the day that our heroes can no longer speak of their friendship, or even touch? Will the words love and friendship no longer be part of future projects of Star Trek? These concepts and feelings were there in all the movies and the series. Why has all of a sudden this beautiful friendship become something dirty? This love and friendship has expressed itself in many ways. Wasn't that what Star Trek: The Search for Spock was all about? What Kirk and the others would do, what they would give up for their friend? In the series, didn't Kirk take a chance of wrecking his own career to save Spock's life? Did not Spock even endanger the Enterprise to save Kirk's life? Is that not love and a spirit of self-sacrifice that led to Spock giving up his life for his friends, including Kirk? What has happened to change all of that? All I ask is that we not let our imaginations run away with us and read something into books and novels that isn't there. Let our heroes acknowledge their friendship, yes, their love for each other. I think the world needs more love and friendship. The spirit of self-sacrifice is sadly lacking today. Will Love and friendship go the same way? I say it will if every time our heroes touch each other or speak of friendship the audiences go into mass hysteria. This is not a pro or con K/S letter; it is a pro Love and Friendship letter. If anything changes this basic concept of Star Trek, then we will all be the losers.[51]
Michele A wrote (May 1986):
It was great to have the record set straight in last issue regarding KILLING TIME. I wondered how and why someone else was speaking for Delia Van Hise a couple issues back; the fact that the author of the letter ran right out and bought a dozen copies to sell at a profit was very telling though. Of course, I was as curious as the next person about what really happened concerning the publishing of that book, but I'm much more appreciative of the information coming straight from the source instead of someone not even involved. Also, thanks to Della for her kind words at the end of her letter to all of us folks still trying to hold on to the Trek "dream." [52]
A.C. Crispin (May 1986) commented on comments she made in February 1986:
I never made any "veiled negative comments" about the quality of KILLING TIME. I made no comment, for precisely the reason stated. Whether it's in front of con audiences, or in INTERSTAT, I don't comment on the other pro Trek novels. (I believe I may have said I enjoyed THE VULCAN ACADEMY MURDERS, because Jean is a personal friend and "enjoy" is a pretty inoffensive term.) I don't comment not because I don't necessarily like them, but because I don't think it's right to do so in a public forum. I generally keep my opinions, both positive and negative, to myself, unless I'm speaking directly to the writer involved. I want to publicly apologize to Della Van Hise. I didn't realize you were an INTERSTAT reader, or I would have kept silent. The version of the KT story I recounted was told to me by Karen Haas, and, as you say, was apparently correct as to the bare facts. But you are right, of course — I shouldn't have theorized as to your motives, thoughts, or actions. The only reason I said anything was to make the point that your book had not been subject to censoring by Paramount after it had already been published. What happened was obviously just one of those things, and I reiterate my sincerest apologies and wish you the best of luck with further books, in or out of the Trek universe. I hope we meet someday, so I can beg your forgiveness in person.[53]
Ann C wrote (June 1986):
Holy Moly! [DWELLERS IN THE CRUCIBLE] makes KILLING TIME seem tame in comparison. Just because a writer has written one of THOSE novels doesn't mean he/she can't write straight Trek. I found KILLING TIME to be a good novel and I enjoyed it. Wish I could say the same about them all.[54]
Jan M. M wrote (August 1986):
I thought KILLING TIME and DWELLERS IN THE CRUCIBLE (that is the excrement with the two female "peace-keepers," is it not?) stank!! Perhaps all four of these characters can find an alternate universe to dwell in. They don't belong in this one, but they are definitely soulmates.
Kristen Brady wrote (1986 in Universal Translator #30 and posted years later to Orion Press):
Killing Time, by Della Van Hise, is a fascinating mixture of the good, the very good, the quite excellent, and the utterly and irrevocably out of line. If you are familiar enough with the Trek underground to associate the name of the author with various K/S publications, then you can begin to understand what I mean when I state that Killing Time is sissified K/S in a glossy, soft-soap package made commercially palatable so as to be acceptable to a general audience. There is nothing blatant, of course—well, not patently blatant anyway, although the pseudo-sexual symbolism approaches the downright over at times—perhaps ‘explicit’ is a better word. There is nothing truly explicit, of course, and Ms. Van Hise—when she is not riding on ecstatic waves of "intense hazel globes" and "fathomless black eyes which (seem) to reflect starlight"—is not an incompetent writer. On the contrary, this novel has a lot going for it—almost enough, in fact, to make one forget that the major plot device used—"a Romulan time-tampering project"—is identical to the one used in the novel immediately preceding this one (Ishmael, in which it is the Klingons instead of Romulans who dabble In time-tampering). In both instances, the idea is to obliterate the Federation by traveling backwards in time and making sure that certain individuals who will ultimately be responsible for the Federation’s eventual emergence are "removed." But unlike Ishmael—where the evil plot is foiled by Our Heroes, the Romulans actually succeed early on in the novel with their plan to alter the shape of the universe, and it is up to you-know-who to put everything back the way it was "before the galaxy hurtles toward total destruction!" Killing Time opens with a strange, recurring bad dream which manifests itself to various members of the Enterprise crew. In this dream, Spock is Captain and Kirk is an ensign on board an Enterprise which is not quite the Enterprise. Kirk attempts to pass if off as edginess, due to the fact that the Enterprise has been patrolling the Neutral Zone in which there have been reports of increased Romulan Fleet activity (also, certain intelligence agents are missing and there is talk of some Romulan time-travel experiment), but it betties clear that something is truly wrong when increasing numbers of people admit to having the same disturbing dream and even Spock is affected. Before there is time to investigate fully however, Ensign Kirk wakes up one day on board the V.S.S. ShiKahr, Captain Spock, commanding. But all is not as the Bad Guys hoped it would be. The scheme turns out to be partially successful in that there is no longer any Federation in the ‘Second History,’ but there is a Vulcan Alliance, a thing very similar to our own United Federation of Planets, as a matter of fact. This is not welcome news to the Romulans (it is a well-known fact that Romulans have more respect for Vulcans, their distant ancestors, than they do for Humans), so in effect, they consider themselves to be worse off in the Second History than they were in the First. But the Praetor has a plan… Meanwhile, the Good Guys have figured out, that something is definitely wrong—a Galactic Menace Alert, no less, is in effect. It would seem that the First History still exists somewhere in the ‘molecular memory’ of the universe. It becomes apparent that the mind can reach beyond the physical boundaries of universes, however, because the minds of individuals who existed in both histories are "seeking their natural environment," which is, of course, the First History. In other words, the time displacement is causing a psychic disturbance which will inevitably, and in a very short time (two weeks!), render everyone in the Second History—an entire universe—insane. Along the way to the inevitable happy conclusion, there are some twists, some surprises, and of course some complications—but what is basically a very intriguing concept is never allowed to unfold to its potential because it is constantly being forced to compete with what can only be termed heavy-handed homoerotic goo such as the eyes-locking-together stuff, the melding-of-the-gold-and-blue stuff, the "he(Kirk)-is-even-deeper-in-your-blood-than-Vulcan" stuff, the two-who-are-one-entity stuff. I should think this would all be extremely bewildering to anyone who was unaware of the K/S aspect and just reading it ‘straight’ because it does tend to interfere with the basic story. And there is more: the forced mind-link Spock perpetrates on Kirk at one point is nothing less than a type of rape ("ebony-black eyes stabbed through hazel-golden pools"), although, of course, Kirk is not really as reluctant as he seems to be at first. The entire thing culminates—or should I say ‘climaxes’?—in a scene in which the alternate universe Kirk and Spock, in order that the real universe Kirk and Spock may assume their rightful realities, in their last action before dying together (as necessity dictates—I don’t think I’m giving anything away by stating it), meld their minds together so that they are linked as they go out. Together. The symbolic sexual implications of such a set-up are hard to ignore, especially after having been so enthusiastically fueled by all the two-who-are-one jazz. To conclude, Killing Time as a pro-novel, is a failure. The thing would have been much better had it been written as straight action-adventure, without the K/S element; it also would have been better had it been written as straight K/S (if indeed there is such a thing as "straight K/S"), which of course would have made it an entirely different story. Whatever the author’s reason for doing it the way she did (and I believe it was a conscious decision), it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work as straight Trek, and it doesn’t work as K/S. Killing Time is not merely the work of a K/S writer whose basic K/S instincts cause her to be carried away when attempting to write straight Trek—Ms. Hise is a much writer than that. The inclusion of the K/S aspect in the novel was a deliberate choice, and one which remains unfathomable to me. But I do know this: the disappointment I experienced with Killing Time was all the more intense because I realized that with one whole hell of a lot of editing, this novel could have been one whole hell of a lot better." [55][56]


A fan commented on the lack of K/S in the book, and the author of the book responds (1987):

At my first reading of that novel, I was not yet a K/S fan. In fact, I didn't know K/S existed. I was just a fan enjoying a very well-written ST novel. Then I head about the controversy and, having become enlightened to K/S, I re-read the noel. I still think, even searching for K/S, that there was none to be found. Sure, someone with an active imagination could insert K/S motives between the lines and behind the scenes. But they weren't there, in black and white, to be read. Perhaps the controversy grew out of the fact that the author has written K/S material. Maybe "Killing Time" was originally a K/S story. That's beside the point. The novel that I read was not K/S." The editor notes: ""Killing Time' was never written as a K/S novel either as a fanzine or otherwise. No other version exists." [57]

Also in 1987, the fan who prepared a line by line comparison of the changes made between the first and later editions commented:

Although I can understand to some extent some of the changes that were made, some were major mistakes - that of Spock's inner turmoil regarding the unasked-for meld with Kirk. The editing goes against Spock's character and that should not be allowed. If at all possible, endeavor to acquire a copy of the original. It is a much easier story to read - it flows instead of jerks. To Della, an excellent story and my congratulations on having it published.[58]


Surreysmum wrote (wrote in 1988, posted in 2010):
Now why does Ms. Van Hise's name sound so gosh-darn familiar? I have the feeling that she has written far more inflammatory stuff than this mild and rather interesting tale of time-travel/alternate universe. Because of time-tampering by the Romulans, the crew of the Enterprise find themselves haunted by dreams (shades of Strangers From the Sky) and then slip into an entirely different universe where Spock commands the ship and Kirk is a lowly and embittered ensign. Introduction of the first K/S element: Kirk out of power, under the command of Spock. (O implacable females!) However, even in this strange universe, the two of them recognize each other in some strange way, and confirm the "real story" through mindlink. Introduction of the second K/S element: telepathy as symbol of sexual conjunction. Together, they restore the original version of history, and fade unselfishly into oblivion (mindlinked of course) so that their alternate selves and the universe generally may continue to exist. Third K/S element: cosmological importance of K/S relationship. Then of course there is the constant dwelling upon the emotional state of the two men, and the introduction of the lady Romulan commander, who seems to hold some great fascination for the K/S crowd (vid. Marshak and Culbreath). The time-shift brings "pon farr" on for Spock (rather gratuitously, I thought) and he - or rather his alternate self - actually sleeps with the lady commander to get rid of it. There are two "new" characters: Richardson, who fills a sort of "buddy" role for Kirk (the ensign) in exile, and S'Parva, a telepathic canine-girl whose chief functions in the book seem to be 1) to illustrate Richardson's Romeo tendencies (incidentally Richardson calls Kirk "Juliet"!) and to push Spock telepathically into dealing with his "pon farr." Did you like it, [name redacted]? Oh come on, give me a break - of course I liked it! [59]


Michael Zachayus wrote (1989):
All is normal aboard, the USS Enterprise. And yet Captain James T Kirk dreams strange dreams at night. In hours, a kind of inexplicable oppression overwhelms him, and his First Officer, Spock, also appears preoccupied. One night Kirk feels suddenly drowned in nightmarish eddies, crosses to the mirror— and startles awake in his quarters. All is normal - nothing but a nightmare. Ensign James Kirk gets up, checks that everything's normal and his roommate is still sleeping before injecting himself another dose…. Aboard the Romulan vessel, the First Officer bitterly points out the failure of yet another manipulation of space-time: this alternate universe artificially created one more time brings the Romulan Empire no victory over Vulcan. There is no Federation, but as was bound to happen, the Vulcans dominate this galaxy and have ferociously defeated all Romulan offensives. The Praetor will have to face tough disappointment. Ensign James Kirk is the drudge of his brutal roommate, but he keeps fighting him with snarling courage. The increasing quarrels at last reach the ears of Captain Spock, who summons the Ensign - who does not obey. During his Academy years in the Command sessions, one night he has forgotten everything about, Kirk was charged with the murder of his Vulcan teacher and submitted to mental torture (of Dagger of the Mind), which left him forever a broken man, without establishing either his innocence or his guilt. When Captain Spock sees Ensign James Kirk before him for the first time, he has the strange impression he has always known the young Human. Inexplicable, unaccountable phenomena occur more and more. One lieutenant goes berserk, almost blowing up the whole Starship when he couples matter and antimatter. The spectre of pon farr haunts Spock mercilessly, and he feels his reason slipping inexorably away through his fingers. The maddened lieutenant, before dying, appears to have doubled brain waves. For Dr. McCoy and the Captain all facts converge towards a sole possible explanation; their own universe and another one are about to telescope together - they run to their doom. It is Killing Time. In the face of this strange and terrible embittered ensign, Captain Spock, although he has no time to lose, tries to pierce the defences of the Human and to make friends with him, at the very moment when the universe is disintegrating horribly all around them. Kirk rebuffs the amicable advances of his captain, who, hurt and maddened, suddenly imposes a mindmeld on the Ensign— and the truth is then totally revealed. Every being whose function differs in both universes is doomed to madness and to death. Those whose function remains identical (like McCoy) have just a little more time. In the meantime, the Praetor - Thea herself (Enterprise Incident) - has projects for her old enemy Spock whom she intends to trap thanks to his sole weakness - James Kirk. Her purpose is to have Spock proclaim Surak's edicts and to return to the crucial point where this doomed universe was born, and impede the murder of one of the founders of the Federation - thus destroying before its appearance a whole world that should never have existed… It is bewitching and it is poignant, this dream-and-reality game, of what is and what could have been, the scaring consequences of a single deed - the murder of a man - the shrilling laughter of madness and of time, the extraordinary link between two souls, losing one another and then finding one another again even at the end of the world; the texture of the universe or the texture of a beating heart - a one and only mystery. There is a deep and hurting irony bathing all the novel from beginning to end with the red glowing of death and time. The disappearance of Kirk and Spock under the cold and unreachable stars, following their ultimate sacrifice. How strange. A strange novel, a strange fate; like shadows too quickly swept away by the wind.[60]
Joyce Devlin wrote (1989):
A story based on a dream by our own Kirk and crew which slips them into an alternate dimension of reality due to the Romulans tampering with time, A second history of what might have been true had the Romulans succeeded in doing their dirty trick. The story starts off with our Kirk and crew having dreams in which Kirk is not the Captain of the Enterprise, but an ensign. The Enterprise is not called Enterprise but 'Shikahr'. Spock is her Captain, Chekov is her First Officer, McCoy in her Doctor- and Scotty is her Chief Engineer. Confusing, well we find in this story that Spock meets Thea the Romulan who incidentally manages to save him during a pon farr, among other things. Lured into a Romulan trap after Kirk is kidnapped, Spock finds out they have to free themselves from both their captors and their altered selves to save the universe from total destruction. I felt this book had a tendency to hint on the subject of K/S as I found several passages trying to turn in that way, giving us a good hint as to what could have happened if the story had been allowed to develop as it wanted to do. Reasonably well written and followed. I do not like picking faults with other people's work but I felt the story wanted to go off in another direction and at parts into K/S. It is a good story however and if one likes alternate universe stories one will find the slip into the other universe quite uniquely done as you end up there with warning but unexpectedly, a reasonably good read with a twist in the tail at the end.[61]


Admiral Keel zantai-K'tari, a fan:
Ms. Van Hise has written a story of immense dimensions (no pun intended) with this novel. I found that the basis of this story was so complex that the mere idea of resolving it escaped me. The plot follows what happens to our Universe when the Romulans change it through the use of time-tampering. Since time is not well understood, let alone the concept of altering past historical events, Ms. Van Hise is allowed much freedom in how the story progresses and I found no flaws in her designs or how she carried them through to the end. The plot is well thought out, detailed in its scope, and the characterizations are as accurate as I would have liked. Fans of the lesser characters will be disappointed in the sparse inclusion of these people, but since the action centers around Spock and Kirk, our minor bridge characters are not expected to get large parts. The character of Spock as the Captain of the USS Shikar and the rowdy and rebellious Ensign Kirk are very believable as we have seen some of these same traits in the lives of these two in their own normal time-frames and Universes. 1 found the switch in ranks and positions to be a bolt of excitement and change in an otherwise steady-state Trek Universe. Fans of the Romulans will find that, in general, their Tieroes' are still dastardly and dedicated to the expansionistic and warlike attitudes seen and noted in old Trek episodes, but it may take some getting used to the overtures of peace-making being put forward by the Praetor of the Empire to Spock during the interval of time in the time-altered Universe, although these overtures are accepted readily when the Praetor's plans are taken under consideration. This reviewer will heartily recommend this novel to the Star Trek reader and collector. I can only hope that Ms. Van Hise comes up with a new and complex Trek novel in the near future as my appetite has been whetted. [62]


A fan wrote (1991):
Killing Time by Della Van Hise (pro ST novel #24, 1985) which one can buy "censored" in stores or uncensored as a genzine from Pon Farr Press is NOT K/S. I do believe Ms. Van Hise has gotten into loads of trouble because people think it is K/S. It's a WONDERFUL story. I was lucky enough to buy the pro novel before some imbecile who disliked words such as "bullshit" and "naked" (SHOCKING!) "censored" it. The original version and rewritten version are both good. I prefer Della's original because it's more detailed about how they are "one" - mentally NOT PHYSICALLY. This book has absolutely no homosexual contact between Kirk and Spock. It's one of the few "pro" novels that's memorable. It's not K/S, but it's still good.[63]


Camille Bacon-Smith examined the fandom communities reaction to the novel in her book Enterprising Women (1992):

The appearance of Killing Time disturbed many fans. Community members who do not generally object to K/S were concerned about the allusions to sexuality-allusions that occur not specifically in the content but in the language Van Hise used to express content, and which language is read as sexual in the group. Fanwriters worried that the book would call undue attention to their own works. Both the fans of the genre and those who object to homoerotic fiction in the community protested within the community and to the publisher. Pocket Book pulled the book and issued a revised edition in which all the quotations but the first given here were deleted or extensively revised. A number of other smaller scaled excisions-referring to pliant flesh and psychic nakedness-stripped the book of its more obvious markers, although enough remain to cue the regular K/S reader that the book situates linguistically in that genre.[64]


In her book Boldly Writing (1996), Joan Marie Verba offered her memories of the novel, and of fan reactions in Interstat:
Killing Time got the most press, mainly because Pocket Books accidentally put the initial version of the manuscript into print instead of the edited version. The initial version, the first printing, nonetheless sold 150,000 copies before the revised second printing came out. Fan reaction was mixed. In September, Deborah L. Bruno said, "Killing Time...may be a somewhat familiar theme, but it is well-handled, and brings out some interesting ideas. The alternate Kirk and Spock are well-drawn and believable." In the same issue, Ruth Berman said, "Killing an example of extremely bad must be in the running for Worst-Ever-ST-Novel."[65]


It *has* been a long time since I read it. I do distinctly recall, however, Richardson and Kirk lounging around in a pool of water while marooned on that planet -- and Kirk "feeling the heat" of Spock going into pon farr.

I also remember there being some appalling glitches in that book -- such as Spock wearing a "wrist chronometer"! Hrumpf! As if Spock *ever* needed a watch!

I've also wondered if "Della Van Hise" ever wrote anything else in the Trekiverse. There was something about that writing that reminded me of Marshak and Culbreath -- but that could just be the high degree of UST and angst. [66]


mattb123 wrote (2001):
Although the premise of the story is promising as the story progresses the plot seems to become uninspired and the storyline fails to have very compelling "twists and turns" which you'd like to see in Trek (as well as most other fiction for that matter). Furthermore, I did not think the development of the characters "Captain Spock" and "Ensign Kirk" were as satisfying as they could have been. "Killing Time" does provide an interesting "version" of the Romulan Commander from the Classic Trek episode "The Enterprise Incident". I say a "version" because I believe different Trek novels have had varying treatments of her fate after that episode. For the most part I wouldn't recommend this novel unless you are a Romulan die-hard. While not terrible, I'd give it about a 4 on a scale of ten, which is why I gave it 2 stars.[67]
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom wrote (2001):
The reason this book is out of print (and so few fans have read it) is because it was yanked off the market for being "in bad taste" around the time that Roddenberry began cracking down on Trek novels that he personally didn't like. (In the mid-1980s. See chapter 17 of his biography, "Star Trek Creator," for more on that aspect of Trek history.) At any rate, the very idea of a censored Star Trek novel was so intriguing to me, I just had to track down a copy and read it! The plot opens with a number of Enterprise crewpersons having some very disturbing dreams. In the case of Kirk and Spock, they both have the same dream, in which Spock is captain of a starship that's not the Enterprise, and Kirk is a young ensign aboard that same ship. As it turns out, the dreams are really bleed-throughs from another universe that was created by Romulan time-tampering. The Romulans, in an attempt to go back and change history in a way that would eliminate the Federation, have created Second History -- and it's not stable. On a deep subconscious level, many people in Second History are still linked to First History (the original timeline) and, in cases where their roles are not the same in both worlds, the disparity is causing insanity. And its spreading. If the original timeline is not restored soon, the whole universe is in danger of going mad. What might be offensive to some people is that Ensign Kirk of Second History is a pretty messed-up character. He's a bitter young man who gets into fights with other crewmembers, has spent some time in prison (although, it is pointed out, the evidence used to convict him was was circumstantial and he maintains his innocence), and was drafted into the Fleet against his will. (The draft is one of the differences that Second History introduces.) He's also misusing a dream suppressant drug to try and stop the nightmares. This is certainly not the way we want to see Our Hero portrayed -- but then again, it fits the plot. I mean, if the Romulans really want to put the Federation out of commission, wouldn't it make sense to get the highly-competent James T. Kirk out of the picture? Besides, we've seen Kirk acting "weird" before under various alien influences, so why would this scenario be any worse? There's also an element of "there but for the grace of God go I" in this story, making us realize that, given the wrong circumstances, anybody's life can take a bad turn. And it can also be righted again. Eventually, the Second History versions of Kirk and Spock figure out what's happened. (A nice touch is that this is accomplished by a mindmeld that taps into the deep friendship between them in First History, which still links them on the subconscious level.) Ensign Kirk quits the drug cold turkey, gets his life together, and helps Spock try to figure out a way to save the universe. To tell you any more would be a spoiler, except to say that this book is well worth reading --- that is, if you can find a copy.[68]


Hypatia Kosh (2003):
Pocket *did* publish a slash book by accident once, in the eighties. It's called _Killing Time_ (the emphasis is on "Time" because it's about time travel, not lots of people getting killed, like you might think by reading the title) by Della Van Hise. (She also got published in K/S zines, in case anyone cares.) The book really sucks. The original print run is the "unexpurgated" version, whereas all subsequent printings feature a sloppy editing-and-retypesetting job in a failed attempt to make the slash theme less obvious. As I said, the book really blows, but it is sort of fun to get your copy and laugh at Pocket's mistake. [69]
Hypatia Kosh (2003):
Notes: Killing Time is notable for existing in two editions. First, the original edition, which was accidently published with a, shall-we-say, unexpurgiated draft, one Paramount had most certainly not approved. The second edition is the final Paramount edit, which the publisher quietly used for all subsequent printings. I didn't discover this, but when I found out, of course I bought both. Rating (on five star scale): ** Killing Time. Where to begin? The title, of course, is a problem. It sounds like it means "time to kill" as if it were one of those hideous J.M.Dillard novels. Actually, it's a pun, i.e. "killing *time*." Except that it really doesn't have much to do with the story. Yes, the story involves time travel, but that's about it. And if you are expecting any humor in this story, I'm afraid it's quite lacking. I'll give it to you straight: this novel is the most blatantly K/S of all the Trek novels published by Pocket. Since K/S is on the list of strict no-no's in the publisher's guidelines, it will come as no surprise that Della Van Hise has never sold a book to Pocket/Star Trek since. The other reason is because she can't write and her book sucks. The only people who actually like _Killing Time_, as far as I know, are K/S fans. Even they don't like it *that* much, describing it as "K/S lite" (most K/S fans keep a healthy dose of NC-17 in their diets, so KT reads like an extended tease) and dismissing the plot. As well they should. The plot is crap, the characters only appealing to hardcore slash fen. I hated it, that's all I have to say about it. When I say this book is K/S, some of you may be a bit skeptical. I'm sure some of you are thinking "Pocket doesn't publish K/S." Well, this book is so K/S that I read the *edited* version several years back, when my only exposure to K/S was basically that I had heard of it, and I recognized that I was reading slash right away. I didn't particularly appreciate it either. Having recently come out and chock full of attitude (particularly a sneering attitude towards slashers) I snagged on a particular paragraph (which I'm too lazy to look up just now) which seemed to indicate that homosexuality for Kirk and Spock was a black hole that would suck them in and destroy them both. That pissed me off greatly. I feel a little silly now, because on rereading I find that I somewhat misunderstood the book. I don't think it's homophobic anymore, but it still sucks. I've read some really great slash stories. This is not one of them. It reads like a slash cliche. Spock is captain, Kirk an ensign (dead giveaway right there). Kirk doesn't know Spock--yet he does! They were *meant* to be together in any universe. (Cue: Awwwww!) The Romulan Commander--guess what--turns out to be the Praetor. Now there's a plot twist that puts KT right in the bottom of the barrel of Trek books right there. The infamous Romulan Commander of course gets somewhat Mary Sueish, and she has an even more Mary Sueish sidekick. Romulan society is made out to be a farce. There are several groan-inducing scenes of 1980's feminist reverse-chauvinism, ie men are stupid, women are geniuses, women can have male sex slaves too. (Oh yeah, that's also orientalism and a slash cliche as well. Drois dans un coup!) Well, if you've ever wanted to see Kirk and Spock burn for each other in the pon farr (not that they actually do it, of course) in an official publication, this book is for you. Otherwise, god, this book sucks shit. [70]


A fan expressed puzzlement over the two versions of the book (2004):

My favorite Star Trek novel, though, is Killing Time by Della Van Hise. I can still read that one, and I admit that I enjoyed it even more after learning that the original printing had been pulled and edited to remove the supposedly "slashy" K/S bits. Which, by the way, still puzzles me, because I got hold of a later printing out of curiosity and discovered that they'd cut only the physical contact in certain scenes, but left all the mind-melding and telepathic bonding and expressions of deep friendship intact. It was, in other words, okay for them to declare their profound and special relationship, but not to be touching each other (well, okay, there was the one part where Spock was lying on top of Kirk, but the rest of it was hand-on-the-shoulder stuff) while they did it. Weird.[71]


Zauberlehrling! wrote (2006):
I read this book almost on one day. It is really thrilling, especially all about the time-thing. The idea of a parallel-universe always fascinates me. The story is quite fast reading and you get all the pictures you need in your head to see how the reaction of the charakters would be. The most I liked (as a K/S-Shipper) was the special bond between Kirk and Spock. It seems like the author took that fact as something you must not discuss about it, because it was seen all over the years in the show and the movies. And I think she was right. The most important of it - it worked. Alright, it is a book for fans of Star Trek. But I think that no one else read book about Star Trek beside Star Trek Fans...[72]


I loved it when I first read it, but in my defense I was only 13 at the time. Thinking about it now, it's a seriously, seriously awful book. I would say one step above fan-fiction, but that would insult some of the pretty decent fan-fiction I've read over the years :-) [73]


A fan discussed and reviewed the book (2009):

...during my lunch break every day I diligently read some Killing Time to, well, kill time. I know you're eager, so let's get the styrofoam boulder rolling.... LET US BEGIN THE BEGUINE.[74] Book starts off talking about the crew's whacked-out sleeping patterns. Spock goes and talks to Kirk and they both admit insomnia and fucked up dreams. Kirk's eyes are hazel and twinkling, as usual, and they have this kind of awkward banter back and forth trying to find out what the dreams were about and as the reader you're like OH MY GODDDD THEY'RE DREAMING ABOUT EACHOTHER AAAA then Kirk deflects and asks if Spock's eaten yet so they get ready to go food up.[75]
A fan artist was inspired by the novel (and the discussions surrounding the novel) to draw art pointing out some of the parallels between the 1985 novel and the newly released Star Trek (2009) movie (2009):
So, I read this Star Trek novel...[76]
A fan in 2009 wrote:
... if you want a really slashy official book, the ultimate is Della Van Hise's KILLING TIME. If you haven't read it you're missing out the moment of a lifetime. Kirk and Spock spent the whole book having heart-to-heart discussions, mind-melding, and they are blatantly presented as soul mates. The first printing of the book was apparently released by "mistake", made from an earlier draft, and it was so slashy that Pocket actually RECALLED.THE.BOOK. so they could edit it before releasing it again. Get your hands on the original version of you can - there are still some going around. It has the title in raised gold lettering, instead of the flat yellow of subsequent printings. I make it my mission to get as many people to read this book as I can :-D.[77]
Charles wrote (2009):
An alternate history Star Trek. I really loved Mirror Mirror, the alternate Star Trek Universe in the original series and so I was primed for another such adventure. Pretty enjoyable, even if it isn't quite the Kirk and Spock we know and love.[78]
delmarsdoll wrote (2009):
Ok, I'm re-reading Killing Time because all the discussion lately has sparked the need to re-visit the slash. Beginning on pg 262, we get fifteen pages of beautiful slash. It starts with the Romulan Praetor questioning Spock about what could be so important in a fictional universe that he cannot stay with her in this universe, and Spock's answer is, "James Kirk." The discussion continues for several pages; then we move to Spock finding the abandoned ensign Kirk through the mind link and Kirk realizing it's Spock to the rescue even though he (Spock) is in a Romulan ship (again through the mind link). Then, on page 273, Kirk and Spock get some alone time and talk about how Spock came to trust the Romulan leader. Spock tells Kirk cuz she saved his life (helped him through Pon Farr). Spock comes to the realization that the Praetor was correct when she said "He is even deeper in your blood than Vulcan." Ensign Kirk begins to get a little nervous about returning to the correct universe where he will be captain, so Spock makes a joke. Of course he mispeaks it a little and Kirk gently corrects him. At this point, Spock has his hand on Kirk's shoulder. Then: Kirk looked up, jaw falling with disbelief until he observed the warm twinkle in the Vulcan's eyes. He laughed aloud. "It's called a rubber ducky, Spock!" he corrected. "A rubber ducky." The Vulcan's head inclined in agreement, maintaining dignity to the last. "As you wish,...Captain Kirk," he conceded. Ok, now picture the scene. The two men are in a stance that in any romantic movie would lead to a kiss after a declartion of "I love you." So, where's the "I love you"? Hello, Princess Bride?! "As you wish" Wesley makes it very clear to Buttercup that everytime he says this, he is saying I love you. But PB came out after Killing time you say. Yes, the movie did, but the book was written in 1973. The phrase "As you wish" doesn't really fit in the context of Kirk correcting Spock's mistake. "If you say so" would make much more sense. When you mispronounce something and are corrected, you don't respond to whoever with an "As you wish." You might respond with an "If you say so." So, I contend that Miss Della was sneaking in an "I love you" disguised as "As you wish" is a scene that sets them up to be in a stance to kiss. BTW, Spock's "As you wish" is the last bit of that encounter before a page break. Page breaks usually imply that time has passed, and Spock commented earlier in the interaction that they had 30 minutes before they reached their destination. The next bit on the page has them at their destination. Now, what did those boys do with 30 minutes? [79]


Mrs. J. Proctor wrote (2010):
This is very frustrating book, mainly because I want to shoot the person who failed to edit it properly. There are places where the writer uses words incorrectly, substituting a wrong word for the one she actually means. The point of view, especially early on, hops around like a rabbit on steroids. At one point, it even managed to change mid-sentence. The author has a real aversion to the word 'said', using an entire Thesaurus of increasingly improbable words to describe the simple act of speaking. Science doesn't get much of a look in either. Sonar in outer space? There's some glitches in the time travel plot as well. All of which is doubly annoying , because I actually like the story. There's some good original characters (and some good female characters) and the Kirk/Spock relationship is as close to slash as you're likely to get in a mainstream novel. Although McCoy is probably the character who has the most spot-on dialogue. I would have rated this book higher if it had been properly edited - I could have done a much better job. However, even with all its flaws, I'll probably keep it.[80]
Natasha wrote (2010):
This book was actually one of the best Star Trek books I have read so far. (About 20or so) The beginning was kind of corny, before the alternate universe takes over, but from then on it's a blast. There's enough action to keep the story moving, with enough character interaction to keep me extremely happy. I enjoy a good Spock/Kirk FRIENDSHIP story, and that's what this brought. Although some might argue this could be viewed as slash, (meaning homosexuality) I don't view it that way. The book was that of the bond of brothers through the screw-ups of Romulans. It was immensely personal and sweet between Kirk and Spock getting to know each other and feeling uncomfortable meaning to much to a stranger. I can understand why Roddenberry banned this book because it doesn't show Kirk as the hero he is, but I like a flawed hero, and all too often we don't get to see that flawed side of Kirk. No character can be pristine and survive the public, and this proves it. If you can get your hands on a copy, DO IT. It was the best decision in a Star Trek book I've made thus far. The review at the top that has "censored" in the title convinced me to buy it. Please do, you won't be disappointed.[81]
sabotenda wrote (2010):
1)It was surprisingly good. I've seen many people comment on how this book was oh so bad in both writing and the plot, but it didn't really strike me as such when I was reading. I think it's partially because English is not my native language, but more because I saw XI before TOS (yeah, I definitely noticed the similarities between two universes, it is really uncanny). Basically to me, it just read like XI K/S fanfic with elements of TOS thrown in. There were some parts that kinda bothered me though. Like the author using quotation marks too much(is it just me?) And then there was this moment when AU Spock was talking to Pike and he said "Chris, hear me out." I don't know why, but that just distracted me throughout the entire novel...but I'm really nitpicking here. 2)My favorite is the scene on the rooftop and Jim's "Take us home, Spock". I liked it so much I'm currently doing a fanart of that scene!! XD XD 3) I liked everything about the book except AU McCoy. I think the only character that felt kinda OOC to me was him. Is it just me or did it read like he's in love with Spock(or at least has a love-hate relationship with Spock)? Iono, it just felt like McCoy's taunting Spock to get an emotional reaction (ike the confrontation in the Romulan mothership). He does that in TOS too, sure, but most of the cases it was either 1)a joke 2)for sake of the crew, especially Jim. The S/Mc relationship is...just very weird without Kirk (I think).[82]

likesharkteeth wrote (2010):

So I read this like a month ago and had enough trouble understanding it even then to remember what it was about now. But I was determined anyway, and wrote out a giant comment that my computer proceeded to destroy. So, here's comment number 2! Hopefully, I didn't leave anything out, and if anything I said doesn't make sense, please let me know. 1) ...Confusing. Maybe I just wasn't reading carefully enough, but most of the time I had no idea what was going on. It was definitely entertaining, but sometimes I felt like I was only reading in hopes of it getting better. 2) The mind-rape scene, of course. XD Especially the part when Kirk flashed back to all of his past girlfriends, and then Spock. 3) I would have loved to be spared all of the scenes with the OCs/minor characters (the Romulans, Richardson dude (um, why exactly did poor Chekov have to be replaced?), S'Parva, etc.). And wtf was up with McCoy bouncing on his toes all the time? 4) Exactly what you said above: the characterization of Ensign Kirk was so similar to nu!Kirk that sometimes, I thought I was reading about him. And Spock was...meh. I felt like there was something off about him, but I couldn't tell you exactly what it was. There was an abundance of slash, but I was confused about what kind of relationship K/S were supposed to have. They didn't act toward each other the way they do in the show at all, and their relationship seemed fanfiction-y (they seemed to be bonded in the way that we see in fic: they had the "mind-link" and acted more like a couple than captain and first officer. Even Thea knew it, and talked about it like, all the time). The only difference between this book and fic is that here, it was never stated outright that they were a couple. 5) This book is living proof of how K/S is apparently the desired (or necessary) outcome of any universe. The entire story is hinged on the fact that Kirk is supposed to be captain of the Enterprise and Spock is supposed to be by his side, and anything else is just WRONG. They go to the lengths of changing the entire universe to make things how they "should" be. (And granted, the book gives us more reasons than just K/S for fixing the universe, but it's definitely one of the most--if not THE most--important.) 6) Memory Beta says, "The first printing of this novel mistakenly used an early draft of the manuscript which contained homoerotic undertones." It makes me laugh, because the editing didn't remove the undertones at all, just the touching and nudity or anything else that could seem too "overt". I read the edited version, which had a lot of holes in it because sentences and sometimes even entire paragraphs were simply deleted. Reading the comparison totally helped my understanding of the book, because the things that were removed were often what an entire conversation or scene was about. Basically, original=WAY better than edited version.[83]
slashshipper wrote (2010):
So, this was my second time reading it and I had determined to count the number of times McCoy bounced on his toes. I left off on page 227 and up 'til then McCoy had bounced on his toes TEN TIMES!!! I can quote you page numbers as well. Drove me nuts! :) [84]
eliyes wrote (2010):
Just for the record: I have both editions. I had been pointed to where they advise "just check page 41 for a passage that begins, "I understand that you were probably playing with dolls and wearing lipstick until you were twenty!" That appears only in the original." I was delighted to discover the original at a used book store, so I read that first, and I'm pretty sure that coloured my view of things. I basically bought a copy of the later edition to see what they took out, and I was surprised at some of what they didn't. Okay so they took out the long looks in the turbolift before the timetravelling meddling changes things, but they didn't take out Kirk thinking about how Spock really gets him and how close they are. They took out the line where Spock "covered Kirk's body with his own" and that Kirk was "asking for it" for the first mind-meld scene, but it's still Spock forcing a mindmeld with Kirk because he's going into Pon Farr, it's just less obviously, physically recalling rape. They left in McCoy's repeated assertation that half the crew fantasize about/would be willing to have sex or more with Spock. They left in Spock parading around in front of Kirk with no shirt. They left in Kirk feeling the fire of Spock's Pon Farr, from another planet. They left in the dishy Romulan Commander from the episode "The Enterprise Incident" being jealous of Spock's devotion to Kirk (although I think they may have edited it just slightly). They left in all the Romeo and Juliet stuff! They still die in each others arms, mindmelding so their souls will stay together. From the view point of a K/S shipper, there's a HELL of a lot to work with in the second edition! In fact, my only real beef with the second version is that they took out that insult on page 41, didn't replace it with any other insult, but didn't edit it in any other way, so the onlookers still react as though an insult was issued. It's awkward. Also, there's a scene with Chapel which is very weird in both editions which is pretty much unnecessary, but oh well. I mostly prefer the second one, in fact, just because the blatent shippiness of the first one frequently had me giggling my ass off. Those longing gazes in the turbolift! I honestly really like the book. I could wish for less time with the Romulans, or at least, the male Romulan whose POV we first deal with. He's fairly unpleasant. The story is interesting, the different paths that Spock and Kirk took that lead to their temporary role reversal are also interesting. Everyone wave hi to Chris Pike, Spock's former SIC! I really liked "Romeo", and Kirk's reaction when he died (and that it was poison, which works for the nicname). I loved the business with the ring falling off Kirk's hand when Spock assaults him in the altered timeline, and Kirk finding it when things are set back to rights and communing a little with those two spirits. I am desperately in love with the scene on the rooftop as Spock and Kirk fade away in each other's arms. I pretty much cry every time, there.[85]
daphnie 1 wrote (2010):
It's like the editors didn't really understand what they where reading. It almost boiled down to TAKE OUT THE BITS WITH THE MEN TOUCHING but. Well, that's hardly the most interesting or suggestive part of the text. The connection is the thing. The romeo and Jullet stuff slays me dead xD I love it. I also adore the mind-meld so they will stay together thing. K/S IS DESTINED XD I really liked it too - I found it entertaining. I kinda got bored with the romulans pretty quickly but there was plenty going on to keep me engaged.[86]
coeurdesoleil wrote (2010):
1) It was actually much better than I had expected it to be, but it is not a particularly well-written or even well-plotted book. Still, even though I had been told multiple times how slashy it was, I was still bowled over by its AMAZING level of slashiness (that goes for both versions of the novel, btw). Would I read it again? SURE. At least the slashy parts - which is basically every page where Kirk and/or Spock appears. 2) The rooftop scene was beautiful and romantic and very nearly made me cry. Also, the scene in the ship's botanical garden where Spock mindrapes Kirk definitely stood out, although I am very ambivalent about it. While part of me is delighted by its obvious slashiness, another part of me is more than a little disturbed by the implication of a mind rape. 3) I could have done without most of the chapters focussing on the Romulans (although I think it was great that the two main Romulan characters were both female and pretty kick-ass). And while I enjoyed the parallelism between K/S and Richardson/S'Parva, I don't think the Richardson and S'Parva POVs worked well. I would have loved to see more of Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov! 4) I completely agree that Ensign Kirk was similar to how Kirk is portrayed in XI. I didn't see a lot of TOS!Kirk in him during most of the book, although I'm guessing that might have been intentional in order to constantly remind us that there was something "off" about the entire Second History universe, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the reboot script writers were inspired by this book.5) THAT WAS MY FAVOURITE PART OF THE BOOK!! The whole point of this book (and the reboot movie) is that Kirk and Spock are destined in any universe and any timeline and since I firmly believe that this is trufax, the author automatically gains 10,000 awesome points.[87]
klangley56 wrote (2010):
Well, I don't read or watch *anything* looking for "slashy subtext," but it's unmistakable in this novel. I remember when this book came out. I bought it mostly in a "support your fellow fan" kind of way, and when I read it I thought--that's vintage Della all right. Frankly, I was more than a little surprised they had let her writing stand. Then I got the letter she was sending around fandom talking about the editing, and I went out and got the revised version. Even that, I thought, was over the top. I haven't reread the book in many years, but that was my general conclusion about the entire book--over the top. And while it is an AU, to be sure, her versions of the characters were just too unrecognizable to me.[88]


A tumblr post, one fan lamented (2012):

I'm gonna crrrrrrrry....My edition of “Killing Time” isn’t the original version super-slash-filled version.... UGGGGGGGHHHH. I mean, the 2nd version is said to still be somewhat slashy, but I’d really love to have the original thank you.... I’m gonna go cry now. WHY COULDN’T THE FIRST EDITION BE THE ONLY ONE??? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LET ALL THE FEELS BE AS THEY SHOULD? Also, would anyone be willing to sell me an orginal copy? No? Okay. Sensitive shipper problems.[89]

A Trek writer Nathan St. Germaine (one of Della Van Hise's (the author of the the book) pseuds) offered a take on rumors regarding the novel (2012):

The pro novel called "Killing Time" was written AS gen for Pocket Books (no slash version ever existed, nor was the first edition recalled because of "romantic subtext, merely it was reissued due to an editorial snafu at Pocket Books itself) and it was never an edited or "filed" version of a fan story.[90]


From a blog post by Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer:
One usually doesn’t google a work of light fiction before reading, and I found Killing Time more interesting on its own merits than as an artifact of the controversy over slash and depictions of sexuality in Star Trek. At its heart, Killing Time is incredibly romantic. Van Hise’s storytelling places the Kirk/Spock relationship in the center of each man, and also in the center of the Enterprise, the Federation, and the Star Trek universe. This romanticism is not merely hearts-and-flowers sentimental stickiness (and also not merely other kinds of stickiness). Killing Time harkens back to the Romanticism of the 18th and 19th centuries, which suggested that morality lay in nature and civilization was a corrupting influence. To Van Hise, the natural order of the universe requires Kirk to command the Enterprise with Spock at his side, and any action that delays or denies this inevitable result of nature warps and sickens the very fabric of space and time. On one level, the story is a trivial piece of fluff tossed off by a fan writer and published when Pocket Books wasn’t paying much attention. On a much deeper level just a short distance of understanding away, it’s a call to action that requires readers to examine their relationships and their actions: What have you done to save the Federation today? [91]


The book itself is total Streisand effect: nobody would have paid attention to the canon-like hoyay if they hadn’t freaked out and recalled it. [92]


The novel is about an alternate universe, created by time-travelling Romulan robot assassins. In this universe, Spock is the captain of an alternate Enterprise called the Shi’kahr, and Kirk is an ensign who’s been convicted of murder and developed a drug problem. However, the new universe the Romulans have created isn’t stable; anyone who’s living a new life in the new universe still has their old self in their mind, causing anything from bad dreams to outright madness. Captain Spock and Dr. McCoy eventually figure out that they have about two weeks until just about everyone goes cuckoo bananas, and they set about making things right.

In both Kirk and Spock’s cases, they are haunted by the ghosts of their original universe. Kirk dreams of a “silver woman-goddess, she,” AKA his first love, the Enterprise. (The book mentions that Spock is “the only other person She would accept in his life.”) Spock, meanwhile, lives an intensely lonely life; he went into Starfleet looking for someone to complete him in a way he’s never been able to know, and he’s haunted by visions of “firm features, tanned flesh, expressive hazel eyes, and a compelling human grin…” He explicitly refers to this vision as t’hy’la, a word loaded with meaning in the Star Trek slash community.

Once the two meet, however, the gay moments come fast and furious. A few favorites:

“The images whisper-walked through his mind. Blue and gold. Warmth and companionship. Stolen moments…Somewhere, he told himself, he would find that reality again…or create it.”
“Spock rolled over, covering [Kirk’s] writhing body with his own. Powerful Vulcan hands seized Kirk’s wrists, forcing muscular arms easily to the ground…”
“With his legs, he scissored the human’s ankles; ebony-black eyes stabbed through hazel-golden pools, compelling cooperation.”
“‘Can any one man be worth an entire universe?’ The Vulcan’s response was direct and without hesitation. ‘Yes.’”

The novel nominally toes the line—Spock ends up going mad with Pon Farr and a Romulan woman helps him out of it, causing some brief conflict when he ultimately chooses Kirk’s future over any chance of romance with her—but it’s also…not exactly non-sexual between Kirk and Spock, either, especially when Spock performs mind melds on Kirk. Spock describes Kirk as “leading him on” to a meld, and the above-mentioned “scissored” ankles occur when Spock finally forces him into a meld to discover the truth of their relationship. The mind melds read more like a metaphor for intimacy and connection, for sex, than they do as simple plot devices, and you can easily see where, in perhaps some previous draft, Della Van Hise actually went from subtext to text.


It’s a fascinating little slice of a history that underpins fandom as we know it today. Many fans around today could tell you the history of slash stories in the early 2000s, how some archives wouldn’t allow LGBT stories at all, how some would rate them NC-17–and how every fanfiction writer was terrified of lawyers coming after them for dabbling in copyrighted worlds. But before the internet, before fandom became a dominant market force, the interaction between fandom and the establishment was much more fluid. And while LGBT content was ultimately taboo, it was also popular with those who wanted to carry the torch, and the Star Trek fandom was in many ways a more tolerant place than the rest of the world; after all, homosexuality was medically classified as a mental disorder right up until 1987, a full two years after this book came out.

While no one intended for this incredibly gay Star Trek book to make it to stores, the fact remained that it did, and it exists as evidence of this complex time in fandom history, with benefits we’ve lost over time and restrictions we couldn’t imagine in this relatively taboo-free era of fanfiction. If you can manage to find a copy of the first edition, it’s worth a read. [93] [94]
Yeah, I have an uncut edition of "Killing Time" myself and I was actually a bit disappointed after reading all the background behind it. I don't like slash fiction, and I never saw Kirk and Spock as secretly yearning for each other. But it was one of those things I heard sooooo much about how the first edition was yanked and changed around. When I finally read my unaltered copy it was like 'nothing to see here'. If I read my uncut copy without ever hearing about it I'd probably have never given it much thought. I noted in my Killing Time review thread that Van Hise's writing style was a bit unusual, she focused a lot on physical looks. But it's reputation seemed out of proportion to the actual book.[95]

Date Unknown (probably mid-to-late 2000s)

From Della Van Hise's website:

It is interesting to note that Della Van Hise was also the author of the professional STAR TREK novel, Killing Time - a book which was deemed "too hot to handle" by the powers that be, and recalled by the publisher for its now-infamous hints of a romantic relationship between Kirk and Spock. The first edition still exists in its original form, for those lucky enough to have obtained a copy prior to the recall, and shows the reader a glimpse of what Ms. Van Hise later turned into a much more revealing and delightfully vivid depiction of the love and sexuality shared by these two beloved characters. As Alexis Fegan Black, Ms. Van Hise wrote over 15 novels, a multitude of novellas, short stories.[96]

External links


  1. ^ Spock Loves Kirk. Love, Della Van Hise: A Careful Consideration of Killing Time by Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer, posted February 11, 2013
  2. ^ "On a brighter note, I've just had a novel accepted for publication by POCKETBOOKS - and am going to use the $$$ from that "to finish printing NT4/5,- 'Killing Time', and get the whole mass of it mailed out. So far, however, the publishing company hasn't forked over the $$$, so I can't be sure how soon that'll be. At my rate, it's something to look forward to - for all of us." -- from In regards to the rumors - I'm not surprised that they're circulating... (December 1982)
  3. ^ from "Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion" by Jeff Ayers (2006)
  4. ^ from Interstat #94
  5. ^ NO.
  6. ^ In the earliest stages of shared slash the terms K/S and K&S were often used interchangeably for both stories with platonic friendship and homosexual narratives.
  7. ^ Fans have wondered for years who that helpful hand might have belonged to. The situation led to a small wave of K/S writers who someday hoped to be pros changing to writing under pseudonyms. (See also Fans Turned Pro.)
  8. ^ Ansible 44, September 1985, Archived version
  9. ^ [TV Tropes page on Ascended Fan Fic accessed November 26, 2012.
  10. ^ Orion Press editorial note on the Killing Time book review here, accessed November 26, 2012.
  11. ^ November 26, 2012 e-mail to Fanlore from Nathan St. Germaine.
  12. ^ from Datazine #12 (1981).
  13. ^ than from Naked Times?
  14. ^ Pg 121, Killing Time
  15. ^ Pg 174, Killing Time
  16. ^ from Star Trek: The Lost Books, post by Steve Roby
  17. ^ from a letter in The Propagator #17
  18. ^ "To all who enter here: I have attempted to gather all the major changes betwen [sic] the first-first edition of Della Van Hise's KILLING TIME and the second-first edition. I am sure that there are small changes I have missed; but after all, I [sic] not Vulcan - only human. I have put in over a week on this project, and have actually memorized sections of the book. Although I can understand to some extent some of the changes that were made, some were major mistakes - that of Spock's inner turmoil regarding the unasked-for meld with Kirk. The editing goes against Spock's character and that should not be allowed. If at all possible, endeavor to acquire a copy of the original it is a much easier story to read - it flows instead of jerks. To Della, an excellent story, and my congratulations on having it published. Warp speed, Kathy Hruby." The editor (and author of "Killing Time") responds: "Thanks, Kathy, for all the work you put in on this lengthy project. Many people have asked about the story of "what happened with KILLING TIME." Suffice it to say that the whole lengthy story of exactly what occurred is told in Della's essay in Naked Times #10. Now, with this list of changes, we now present to the readers of OTD, we hope this gives a more complete picture of the transition of KILLING TIME from the "way it was" to the "way it is. Again, Kathy, thanks so much for this commendable endeavor." from On the Double issue #5, 1987.
  19. ^ lexx_the_flex: "Homoerotic Star Trek Novel "Killing Time" - uncensored vs. censored", posted 28 Sept 2009 (last accessed 22 Feb 2010)
  20. ^ from Della Van Hise in Datazine #38
  21. ^ from Interstat #102
  22. ^ from Della Van Hise in K/S - A Personal Experience, published in Naked Times #10, June 1986
  23. ^ Interview with Della Van Hise (Slash Alexis Fagen Black) (2011), conducted by Kit Hammonds.
  24. ^ Once Upon a Mad, Mad Time..., Della Van Hise, December 20, 2014
  25. ^ from Datazine #50, ad submitted by Della Van Hise
  26. ^ author's ad in Communications Console Vol. I, issue #4 (1987).
  27. ^ author's ad in The Zine Connection #14. This author ad also appeared in On the Double #8 (1988).
  28. ^ Ansible #44 (September 1985)
  29. ^ Scott Baird, "15 Characters Who Weren't Allowed To Be LGBTQ." ScreenRant, Feb. 1, 2018.
  30. ^ "Roddenberry and Star Trek Novels", in The Star Trek Canon on Page found 2020-06-20.
  31. ^ she refers to a get-together at Joan Verba's house to celebrate the finish of The Genesis Aftermath
  32. ^ first comment (by Ruth Berman) is from Interstat #95, reply from Dorothy L. is from Interstat #95
  33. ^ a reference to the Hays Code
  34. ^ from Interstat #95
  35. ^ from Interstat #96
  36. ^ from Interstat #96
  37. ^ from the editorial in Naked Times #8
  38. ^ from Interstat #98
  39. ^ from Interstat #98
  40. ^ from Interstat #98
  41. ^ from TREKisM #46/47
  42. ^ from The Propagator #12
  43. ^ from Not Tonight Spock #12
  44. ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #17
  45. ^ from K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #17
  46. ^ from Atavachron v.1 n.1
  47. ^ from Interstat #100
  48. ^ from Interstat #100
  49. ^ K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits) #18
  50. ^ from Interstat #101
  51. ^ from Interstat #103
  52. ^ from Interstat #103
  53. ^ from Interstat #103
  54. ^ from Interstat #104
  55. ^ a review by Kristen Brady at in Universal Translator #30; later reposted to Orion Press, accessed October 26, 2012, references link
  56. ^ Three years later in On the Double #10, the author of "Killing Time" comments on this review and wrote: "I know from experience that people will occasionally attempt to attack a writer's work through what I would consider a more personal attack. (i.e. the "review" of KILLING TIME that appeared in the defunct publication, UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR). I have since found out who wrote that review, and that it was intended as an attack against me rather than against the book itself. Apparently this person was going through some rough personal times and was lashing out at everybody who got in the way. I just happened to "get in the way" that time. And while I would have welcomed hearing this fan's comments to me, I wasn't interested in reading them under the guise of a review when her complaints were, in the end, entirely personal.
  57. ^ from On the Double #3
  58. ^ from On the Double #5 (1987).
  59. ^ from Goodreads by Surreysmum, written in 1988, posted in 2010
  60. ^ from IDIC #5
  61. ^ from IDIC #6
  62. ^ from Agonizer v.2 n.2
  63. ^ from The LOC Connection #30
  64. ^ page 238 Enterprising Women.
  65. ^ Boldly Writing page 70, referring to comments in Interstat.
  66. ^ Writers Block and Killing Time (June 20, 1999)
  67. ^ from Amazon by mattb123
  68. ^ from Amazon by Rabbi Yonassan Gershom
  69. ^ comment by Hypatia Kosh at alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated
  70. ^ Killing Time Is Killing Me, by Hypatia Kosh
  71. ^ comment The New Voyages dated 2004.
  72. ^ from Amazon by Zauberlehrling!
  73. ^ worst sf book ever (February 25,2008)
  74. ^ By gay composer Cole Porter, Begin the Beguine is considered an extremely sexy swing instrumental.
  75. ^ 2009 review of the book, for more see a Recap of Killing Time, Archived version (with macros) by stablercake, on ontd startrek
  76. ^ WebCite.
  77. ^ from marymonroe at
  78. ^ from Goodreads by Charles, posted March 2009
  79. ^ Killing Time sneaks in an "I love you"
  80. ^ from Amazon by Mrs. J. Proctor
  81. ^ Goodreads by Natasha, posted May 2010
  82. ^ Star Trek K/S Slashy Book Readalong, at Kirk/Spock Livejournal
  83. ^ Star Trek K/S Slashy Book Readalong, at Kirk/Spock Livejournal
  84. ^ Star Trek K/S Slashy Book Readalong, at Kirk/Spock Livejournal
  85. ^ Star Trek K/S Slashy Book Readalong, at Kirk/Spock Livejournal
  86. ^ Star Trek K/S Slashy Book Readalong, at Kirk/Spock Livejournal
  87. ^ Star Trek K/S Slashy Book Readalong, at Kirk/Spock Livejournal
  88. ^ Star Trek K/S Slashy Book Readalong, at Kirk/Spock Livejournal
  89. ^ I'm gonna crrrrrrrry plaguedbyinsanity's tumblr post dated Jan 2012.
  90. ^ November 26, 2012 e-mail to Fanlore from Nathan St. Germaine.
  91. ^ Spock Loves Kirk. Love, Della Van Hise: A Careful Consideration of Killing Time, Archived version, Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer, posted February 11, 2013
  92. ^ olderthannetfic.tumblr, July 2017
  93. ^ I Read the Gayest Star Trek Novel, Archived version by Cindy Massre (February 3, 2019)
  94. ^ Also see I am ECSTATIC. I got my hands on an uncensored first edition of KILLING TIME, a famously gay Star Trek novel from 1985., Archived version
  95. ^ Comment on Killing Time in a thread discussing The Fate of the Phoenix by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath in "Trek Literature" on Trek BBS, dated January 28, 2019.
  96. ^ About the Authors page at FanzinesPlus, accessed November 26, 2012.
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