|Date(s):||January 1994, April 2006|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||Meat Dreams|
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This won a 1994 STIFfie Award.
From the publisher: "After the events in Sarpeidonʼs past, Spock begins to have dreams of meat, and Zarabeth...and Kirk."
About the Revised Work
In 2006, Cavalcante wrote: "I had always thought the ending was clumsily done, so I redid it." 
Reactions and Reviews
"Meat Dreams" is one of the best K/S stories I have ever read. It is exciting, with wonderfully well-written action scenes. It is intellectually satisfying, with a complex puzzle provided not just by the obvious events of the story, but also by the intriguing use of symbols and imagery. This story is compelling, and at 33 reduced pages of print, there's plenty here to enjoy and remember. J.S. Cavalcante has written her very best story in this first time tale written exclusively from Spock's perspective.
"Meat Dreams" is sophisticated. These characters are real, breathing individuals. Both Kirk and Spock are complex; indeed, Spock does not completely understand his own complexities, and it's their unraveling that provides the tension that propels the plot. We travel with Spock through the corridors of his mind as he dreams strange dreams. He's just ten days past the events on Sarpeidon, where he ate meat and made love to Zarabeth, He'd looked down into her honey eyes, her honey hair, and seen his captain's face there instead. Now, back on the ship, Spock dreams of eating meat, of making love to various women, and speaking to ancient Vulcan gods.
Using the "pantheon of Vulcan gods" as quasi-characters, as backdrop to the story was a brilliant idea, marvelously well-executed. I especially liked the transformation of S'thyr into Kirk in one dream. And the consistently clever use of words and symbols connected with the gods is well illustrated by this excerpt from page 6, as Spock dreams/remembers his encounter with Zarabeth: "Unwelcome at Spock's carnal feast, T'Kath'ya, cool blue goddess of logic, was incarnate in a most peculiar form....// She was McCoy's voice, filtering faintly from the next room...."
Especially appealing is Spock's characterization. Here is the superbly competent Vulcan, trying to distract himself from insights he is resisting by "recalibrating the ship's sensor array while composing his second scholarly paper on the Fabrini language...." in his head. He conducts an inspection tour of the entire science section, and we get a wonderful "feel" for both the bridge and the science labs through these two brilliantly conceived scenes. What is particularly admirable is the author's ability to create a Spock who is beset with confusion, doubt, emotions he is having difficulty controlling, while still managing to convey his strength, his skill as first officer, his inner integrity and value to the ship. A very difficult task, but the author took the time to fully develop her character in all his facets, rather than concentrate exclusively on artificial angst. Because we see Spock's abilities, because we see him as a well-rounded individual within the context of his world on the Enterprise, his difficulties with the dreams become much more poignant.
There are three fights in this story. The first is between Spock and an Andorian, whose warrior society is fully-realized in just a few pages. I felt like I was there. Another is a wrestling match between Kirk and Spock, accented by the creative use of a gravity field, the last a dream-recreation of the contest at Koon-ut-kali-fee. In less competent hands, three so-similar scenes in only 33 pages would be stultifying, but that is far from true here. Each fight is so completely realized, and so different from the others, that the reader is swept along by events. I was really impressed with the various wrestling/fighting holds and moves that made each conflict seem sweaty-real.
There are a few deficiencies with this superbly-written story. The writing is so excellent, the construction so tight and the plot so interesting, that to call these minor bobbles "deficiencies" seems very excessive. Overcoming the bobbles would have provided advanced refinement to an already well-formed manuscript.
The problems have to do with focus, and an ability to present a plot clearly. In the second page, Spock admits that he desires Kirk. "She is not Jim," Spock tells himself within the dream as he makes love to Zarabeth, "but wouldn't he be much like her if he were female?" Later in the same paragraph, "It was an old forbidden dream." So, Spock does indeed know that he has had a woman in his arms, and in his mind substituted Kirk. But later, as Spock struggled through the dreams, the events on Tseng's World, it seemed to me that he was reacting as if he was not aware of this attraction to Kirk, as if he were denying what had already been acknowledged.
This set up a conflict for me as a reader. Did Spock know or didn't he know about the sexual nature of his attraction? His reaction to the dreams seems to suggest one thing, and the facts as presented by the story seem to suggest another. There's a conflict here between content and style. My guess is the revelation at the top of page 35 is truly the crux of the matter, (I don't want to say specifically, and spoil this great story for others), but frankly, I'm not sure. If that is indeed the author's intention, there's a structure problem here, because the resolution of the conflict of the story should be more obvious than it was.
The other focus problem is that I don't think that Kirk's true intentions and feelings are adequately conveyed. There are hints here and there, but nothing fully realized, so that when Spock reaches his conclusion about Kirk's state of mind, I wondered about the adequacy of the clues he was going to act upon. I went back and looked, but in "real time" there simply wasn't enough that I saw to convince him that all the clues in "dream time" were based on reality. Kirk seemed a little fuzzy, not quite in focus to justify the conclusion. And since Spock is very much focused on Kirk in this story, it's important that we be able to see what he sees.
Stylistically, J.S. Cavalcante is the very best of our writers, I believe, and I sat back and admired sentence after wonderfully constructed sentence. The only glitch that occasionally stopped me was a repetition of an already-used word or phrase. For example, on page 26, "rounded muscles and the tanned skin," followed half a page later by "shapely muscles under the tan skin moving," followed a quarter of a page later by "a blur of tan skin."To close, I highly recommend "Meat Dreams" to all K/S fans. It's highly imaginative, satisfying, and it even has a great sex scene. And the insight into Spock is so penetrating as almost to be defining. This is a great story. Read it. You'll like it. 
From the very start, this author sets up a vivid, atmospheric, visceral, sensual world occupied mostly by Spock's mind and emotions.
Spock dreams he is back with Zarabeth and he wants to eat meat. So "meat" becomes the metaphor for the forbidden desires. It is Spock's struggle with his needs and desires, as well as for the freedom of emotions that his ancestors possessed. And of course, for one James Kirk.
Such vivid language that we can really sense, such as: "...their sharp odor lingered obscenely in Spock's nostrils."
In his dream, while he has sex with Zarabeth, she turns slowly and strangely into Kirk in what is a very effective scene as her feminine body changes to masculine.
Again, as in this author's previous works, she integrates intense Vulcan culture, society and history into Spock, bringing him to life as he thinks, talks and acts like the alien that he is.
As Spock fights with his growing feelings, he tries to sublimate them by doing many things at the same time to distract himself. "Spock was deeply immersed in recalibrating the ship's sensor array while composing his second scholarly paper on the Fabrini language of Yonada." So while he does these things "He wrote the paper in his head." That's our brilliant Vulcan, all right!
The writing is so concise, everything relates to Spock's dilemma. He tours the ship and sees things that remind him of his "problem"; he looks out into space and sees: "firelight flickered on cave walls." Also, the use of the manifestation of "blood lust" when Spock gets an erection when he battles an alien is a terrific idea.
There is a clearly described wrestling match between them that is done so well that one can visualize it. Often action scenes that involve fighting, swordplay or sports are confusing or given short-shrift, as in: "They wrestled.". But here, the author not only showed us the action in a dynamic way, but included Spock's memories of when the Klingon Kang wrestled Kirk and got a hard-on. My insides turned to Jell-O when Kirk teased Spock with one of the same!
The scene ended in a fine, dramatic way as Spock knew what to say to Kirk to win. Such on-target characterizations along with Spock's response to Kirk's apology. Spock says he is a Vulcan and "...therefore, certainly not 'upset'."All the Vulcan gods and goddesses are richly atmospheric with their Vulcan names and what they represent and how they were so skillfully woven throughout- taunting, then ultimately helping Spock face his emotions. 
I never cease to be amazed by this lady's talent. She uses words like an artist uses a paint brush. There is nothing monochromatic about them, for her writing palette is vivid with color contrast, texture and subtly - "Kirk's tone was light, teasing, inviting a reluctant Vulcan out to play/ My mind can picture exactly the expression on Kirk's face and the sound of his voice. I delight in her attention to detail, even in her little 'asides'. For example noting how Andorians (with their sensitive antennael are usually soft spoken because of their acute hearing. This is a story seen from Spock's point of view, a very complex Spock, at once vulnerable and strong valiantly battling his ever growing desire for his captain. How he chooses to sublimate this feeling, by immersing himself in his work, is amusing and touching. A losing battle to be sure. The analogy of meat is strongly symbolic of forbidden emotions and yearnings a modern Vulcan would not dream of. But this Vulcan does dream and in spades. They are dreams of the women he has known, Zarabeth, Leila, the Romulan Commander that dissolve into one particular very masculine face and body; like an out of sync lens, when finally focused, the focal point is always...Kirk. The dreams too are populated with the faces and voices of ancient Vulcan gods who come alive before our eyes as they converse with Spock about primitive needs far older (and stronger! than Surak's tenets. We have here too the most erotic wrestling match I have ever read. The one between Kirk and Spock. It left me holding my breath and marveling at Spock's control. I have only one minor quibble and that is we are not given much insight into what Kirk is thinking or feeling, But even this does not detract from the impact of the story. It is a feast of word imagery for the mind and like the glutton for a superb story that I am, I devoured every sentence joyfully and unremorsefully. Knowing Ms. Cavelcante's prolific craftsmanship with the written word, there will be many more stories to come. And I'll be waiting to read them. 
Spock dreams of meat and other forbidden subject. I really liked the pacing of this story.
The dreams and waking events worked well together; they flowed logically from each other so that all the parts of the story made sense together. The author also kept up a nice sense of suspense.Unfortunately the last dream didn't really work for me. It was too much like the real events and not like the earlier dreams. The author did explain why the last dream was more for Spock than the others, but the earlier dreams were so ... dream-like, I missed the mystery of Spock trying to grasp what was happening to him, rather than having it be so obvious. 
Excellent! I love that a whole rich story evolved out of the meat-eating scene on Sarpeidon, which I am certain would have been a very profound experience for Spock.
Intense and evocative Spock and Zarabeth scene, the animal fat burning, Zarabeth's leather smelling of animal, and Spock eats the meat with a savage satisfaction, hungering for Zarabeth also. Had the meat changed him? He fucks her, and her eyes are so like Kirk's...
I love these moments when we get our first glimpse in a story of how one of them feels about the other. This was a fine such moment.
Zarabeth beneath him...turns into Kirk in his mind—harder, stronger, larger, male...and it's all a dream. "His private shame had surfaced on Sarpeidon.... The beast had broken free. It hungered for forbidden flesh." Gorgeous.
On the bridge, he unconsciously evokes the name of the goddess of toil. A wonderful small touch to show him not totally with it in the usual sense. He is sinking himself into ten jobs at once to avoid Kirk. I love the paper he's writing in his head on the Fabfini language. Another of the author's brilliancies. And I like the references to Vulcan gods and goddesses—more of her wonderful Vulcan imagination.
The exchanges between Kirk and Spock on the bridge are excellent. Perfect tension lying beneath Spock's exterior.
I Iove all the details of the science-business that Spock goes around checking on, to absent himself from the bridge - I love "Jones L. Jones"
Also an enjoyable scene with McCoy—no caricatures, just a lovely, insightful caring- I like that Spock really does consider McCoy his "friend," and anyway, he has no one else to talk to. McCoy suggests Spock needs to learn what these meat-dreams are trying to tell him. Many fascinating details- Such as: Vulcansdo dream, but not so often or intensely if they meditate properly (which Spock has not been able to do).
And then, another dream: Leila and Spock are fucking...and his words glide from those he said to her to those he said to the Romulan Commander.-.and then Leila is the Romulan Commander (and he has eaten meat with her!). Whew —intense!
Re animal flesh: "Once you partake, there is no removing the stain of violence."
In the real-time story, "warrior" Andorians live on Tseng's World. They owe the Feds some dilithium. etc. Fascinating Andorian traits. The author is so imaginative and it always feels accurate. Now I feel that I know a little more about Andorians, their history, social traits, etc. Well done).
I love that apparently the telepathic contact between Kirk and Spock is actually enhanced in dangerous situations where they cannot exchange words.
Sham the Andorian is itching to fight. Spock takes up the challenge so Kirk will not be killed doing so. The fight is perfectly written-nicely choreographed. And Spock in this mode is exquisite. And he gets an erection — as in bloodlust. Sham is honored by Spock's warriorness and so will give the Feds the dilithium.
Another dream, T'Kath'ya (goddess of logic) tells him: it is not what you are consuming, but what is consuming you that is the problem. And: Do not censor your dreams. And: Allow yourself to have what you wish in dreams. And: Dream wisely.
Great dream, of Kirk offering himself. Spock wakes up erect, but will not masturbate- He goes to the gym, and Kirk is there, still angry at Spock's behavior on Tseng's World. They wrestle in a two-G workout field. Superb scene! Beautiful dynamics. between them. Kirk's wiles vs. Spock's strength, I Iove when Spock has Kirk pinned down, and Kirk realizes Spock has an erection, and shoves his own ("ever-present" one!) up against Spock's, pushing Spock off of him. So Kirk pins Spock down, and brushes erections together once again. My god.
Dream: Gorgeous, heart-throbbing sex and love. Then Spock awakens and goes to Kirk, The time has come to speak of it, tell Kirk of his dreams....
Are the dreams so "logical," i.e., not surreal-ish, because they're Spock's?I loved, loved, loved this story. 
From the start, this author sets up a vivid, atmospheric, visceral, sensual world occupied mostly by Spock’s minds and emotions. Spock dreams he is back with Zarabeth and he wants to eat meat. So “meat” becomes the metaphor for the forbidden desires. It is Spock’s struggle with his needs and desires, as well as for the freedom of emotions that his ancestors possessed. And of course, for one James Kirk.
Such vivid language that we can really sense, such as: “...their sharp odor lingered obscenely in Spock’s nostrils.”
In his dream, while he has sex with Zarabeth, she turns slowly and strangely into Kirk in what is a very effective scene as her feminine body changes to masculine.
Again, as in this author’s previous works, she integrates intense Vulcan culture, society and history into Spock, bringing him to life as he thinks, talks and acts like the alien that he is.
As Spock fights with his growing feelings, he tries to sublimate them by doing many things at the same time to distract himself. “Spock was deeply immersed in recalibrating the ship’s sensor array while composing his second scholarly paper on the Fabrini language of Yonada.” So while he does these things “He wrote the paper in his head.” That’s our brilliant Vulcan, all right!
The writing is so concise, everything relates to Spock’s dilemma. He tours the ship and sees things that remind him of his “problem”; he looks out into space and sees: “firelight flickered on cave walls.” Also, the use of the manifestation of “blood lust” when Spock gets an erection when he battles an alien is a terrific idea.
There is a clearly described wrestling match between them that is done so well that one can visualize it. Often action scenes that involve fighting, swordplay or sports are confusing or given short- shrift, as in: “They wrestled.” But here, the author not only showed us the action in a dynamic way, but included Spock’s memories of when the Klingon Kang wrestled Kirk and got a hard-on. My insides turned to Jell-O when Kirk teased Spock with one of the same!
The scene ended in a fine, dramatic way as Spock knew what to say to Kirk to win. Such on- target characterizations along with Spock’s response to Kirk’s apology. Spock says he is a Vulcan and”...therefore, certainly not ‘upset.’”
All the Vulcan gods and goddesses are richly atmospheric with their Vulcan names and what they represent and how they were so skillfully woven throughout--taunting, then ultimately helping Spock face his emotions.
What an exquisite scene as Spock comes into Kirk’s dark quarters and stands before him saying: “You are a dream. I would make it reality.” And did I ever love the phrase describing a part of Kirk’s anatomy as “the staff of his desire”. Then the sequence as Spock “retaliates” for Kirk’s transgressions was really sexy.All this and an ending that was surprising and totally charming. 
This is a dazzling story. It entertained and excited me for tthe second time. Of course I had read it before and knew it was much acclaimed, but the impact this time was stunning. Some of it was due to my mood, most was the power of this distinguished author to draw me persuasively into the world of our beloved ship, specifically into Spock's haunting, guilt-ridden dreams.
Poor Spock is suffering anguish over his sexual relations with the females with whom he'd come into contact over many years of his 'Fleet service. And especially the eating of animal flesh that had accompanied those relations. The punishing dreams speak of his hollow feeling that he deserves his plight. The dreams are, furthermore, tangled with his suppressed desire for his captain. These dreams are starkly rendered, exciting and compelling. I was mesmerized reading them, hoping someone would hurry up and pull him out of his misery.
Naturally it's Kirk to the rescue. Our captain, with his fine-honed sensibility toward his best friend, ferrets out Spock's problems. And McCoy contributes some sound advice and psychological thoughts about the origin of the night terrors. I found it interesting and believable and I loved it.
In any case, Spock's love for Kirk surfaces, brought to fruition by another dream. This one I loved for sure. Orion women and one male, green and winning, wearing a leather cache-sexe (whatever that is I want to touch it!). Yow! This was too hot to handle, just great. And after all that we get another middle-of-the-night gym scene, with Kirk as bystander and taunting participant, both he and Spock in tights no less. My cup ranneth over, to say the least!
Well, they go at it, grappling sweatily, displaying some cunning wrestling moves designed to get them aroused. Erections and all! These two men know each other so well it was wonderful to watch...I mean to read about their bodily contact in this way.
Their session ended for the night, Spock retires guiltily and is snared by yet another dream that takes place on the sands of Vulcan. It is an erotic dream, peopled with females from Spock's past. It awakens him and he goes to Kirk's cabin to find the human asleep. Kirk awakens. My expectations were running at warp speed. I wasn't disappointed. I got what I'd waited for throughout this long, wonderful story. Their love is consummated and they end in each other's arms, their destined homes.
During this final section, the characterization of James Kirk was flawless. He is tough, tender, knows how to play his Vulcan to get him to admit his needs, his suppressed desires. Spock is freed from the curse of those exhausting night visitors...and bound forever to the exceptional man/god who holds his heart and soul. Females be damned! I thought as I turned the last page.This is a fine, sensitive creation; the very loving writing style we find in the best authors, is perfection. I recommend it with no reservations. 
- from A 2006 Interview with J S Cavalcante
- from Come Together #4
- from Come Together #4
- from Come Together #6
- from Come Together #5
- from Come Together #6
- from The K/S Press #45
- from The K/S Press #124