Legacy (Star Trek: TOS het novel)
You may be looking for "Legacy," the novel that is Enterprise Incidents #12.
|Publisher:||R & R Productions|
|Author(s):||Lynda K. Roper|
|Cover Artist(s):||Jacquelyn M. Zoost|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
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Kirk and Spock find themselves on a world where women dominate and men are 'boys' to be controlled and protected. In trying to escape, Kirk and Spock unravel the mysteries of this strange world and find personal surprises as well. Due to mature heterosexual themes, this full-length novel will be sold to adults and mature teenagers.
image showing comb binding
Reactions and Reviews
In fairness, I must say that Legacy looks good. There are no interior illustrations, but the layout is very neat and tasteful... The cover features a color portrait of Kirk - not very dramatic, but not a bad drawing. Also, I wouldn't characterize Roper's writing style as poor or embarrassingly amateurish. She is a strong storyteller. Her plotting manages to keep you reading. Her characters weigh in at what I'd call one-point-five-dimensional-generally stereotypes, with just the hints of complexity-which is not altogether inappropriate for an action-based story like this one.
The problems with this novel go deeper than these surface aspects. What initially attracted me to Legacy was that it was set in a female-dominated society. Leaving aside prurient sex appeal for the moment, I am always interested in seeing the lands of matriarchal cultures women writers create, because they are usually very telling caricatures of our own, male-dominated culture. It was therefore disturbing to see that Roper had set up a society in which male (read modern female) characters are humiliated by females (read modern males), being treated like children while at the same time being exploited for their sexuality. This is an observation, not a criticism. My criticism is that, despite the fact that Roper had put her matriarchy on a parallel Earth (so much so that the natives once spoke Federation Standard), she does nothing to use this upside-down setting as a commentary on our own situation. She doesn't provide us with any insight about what makes one gender oppress another. In Legacy, female domination is treated as an aberration. It was born of bizarre circumstances, rather than any biological or economic necessity. All the "good" characters feel uncomfortable with it throughout the story, and all the "sensible" characters willingly abandon this centuries-old lifestyle as soon as Kirk and company show them the error of their ways. In short, she hasn't set up a society where there is a convincing, deeply engrained, gender-based prejudice that would account for their current situation. Slavery is more of a convenient plot device than a real topic of debate in this novel. This makes all the moralizing about the equality of the sexes that the Federation people dish out at the end seems little perfunctory. If Roper really wanted to make a point about equality, she should have used the female subjugation of men on this planet as something other than an excuse to put Kirk and Spock in some embarrassing situations.
Well, let's go back to that prurient sex appeal now, shall we? Much more sex is talked about than is seen in this novel, but there are a few explicitly described sex scenes. To give away a little bit of the plot, there is even one scene in which Mr. Spock gives the practice of faking an orgasm a whole new meaning. My only real problem with the sex in this book is that the transitions into sex or sexual topics tend to be too abrupt. The narrative or characters will be discussing fairly dignified things like galactic peace and the Federation, and the next thing you know, they're talking about somebody's ass. It's a fairly common problem in fan fiction-many writers simply aren't able to make the characters' sensuality seem natural and well-integrated with their other concerns. It seems to be easier for most writers to come up with convincing lines for Spock, who we know must be in an extraordinary situation when dealing with his own sexuality.
However, this problem of convincing integration becomes particularly acute when writers try to deal with Kirk, who is at the same time a very serious, career-minded person, and a very sexually active person. Writers either capture his serious side and make him an authoritarian bore, or focus on his sexual side and make him a giddy adolescent. I don't think Kirk's sexuality is that separated from or diametrically opposed to his career-mindedness. An accurate, mature Kirk, in my opinion, has integrated both elements, with each characteristic working in harmony with the other to help him achieve his goals. Legacy's Kirk was a little too giddy for my tastes. In summary, giddiness is my main complaint about this novel. Before I begin to sound as if I'm suggesting that all fan fiction must read like sociological treatises, I want to say that I agree that stories dealing with serious topics like slavery and gender oppression need lighter moments. But I, as a reader, crave a little mere substance and depth in the examination of such topics. This sort of maturity of approach separates the books that I enjoy as guilty pleasures from the ones like Legacy, that I feel guilty for having enjoyed it at all.
The Federation has received a signal from a previously unknown race and the Enterprise is sent to make contact. When they arrive they discover that although there is a world-wide communications network it is totally unused; the population is living in a very restricted area while most of the planet, although lush and fertile, Is deserted. There are indications that the world has suffered from a nuclear war fully a thousand years previously. Kirk and Spock beam down and are captured in fairly short order; this is a world run by women, and they rather stick out. They are taken first to a boys' house' and from there they are taken to be 'sold' - although the women call it 'being protected'. They are however separated - the law is 'only one whole male per house'; boy children are supposed to be taken at birth to the boys' house. Some mothers do try to hide their sons, but these are inevitably discovered and are taken away by the authorities. At the boys' house most are castrated - the exceptions being the sons of what might be called the ruling class, who will in due course be sold to become the husbands of young women - and they are all brainwashed Into complete docility. Unfortunately, Kirk and Spock are using a new kind of translator, which m They are lucky in that they are bought by what might be called the two most influential women on the planet; Spock by a town-dwelling industrialist. Kirk by a county-living landowner who is directly descended from Buyen, one of the Mothers of their culture. The story mainly follows Kirk, who, when he tries to tell his 'mistress' where he has come from and the culture that, is his, is not believed. The story moves well and is a most enjoyable read. Lynda has developed her culture well, and her main characters show no sign of the Mary-Sue syndrome. My only quibble lies in her handling of McCoy, whose behaviour does seem at times to be a little less than completely professional. Balancing that, Lynda's Chapel comes over as a much stronger character than she is usually depicted.
It's another standard situation - Kirk and Spock are lost on a world dominated by females and kept in a position of what amounts to slavery. They develop relationships and eventually, by the time they're rescued, they've managed to shake things up considerably. It's a good, strong, engrossing 188 page novel, tightly developed and worth reading. The sex is handled tastefully and well integrated into the plot. It's not a pornography or bondage novel, nor a hurt-comfort orgy, as so many stories with slave themes or dominance themes are in Trek.
... Legacy is refreshingly different from the rather staid pro novels. Roper weaves her irrepressibly humor throughout this novel with some interesting byplay between Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Chapel...
- from The Zine Connection #14
- from a longer review in Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #4. The reviewer gives it "2 trees." The reviewers in "Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?" rated zines on a 1-5 tree/star scale.
- from IDIC #8
- comment from Jacqueline Lichtenberg from Treklink #20
- from Communications Console v.3 n.2