Morpheus Rising

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Zine
Title: Morpheus Rising
Publisher: Merry Men Press
Editor:
Author(s): Kathy Tipton
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1999
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: zine at the MMP site
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cover by Marianne Mueller -- "One of the most inventive designs of a zine cover that I’ve seen. And all that shows at first is a beatific Kirk, being touched by unseen fingers. Open the flap, and you see what Spock is really doing to him! This new artist is so terrific—everything I’ve seen of hers has been excellent." [1]
the cover showing the front cover overlay

Morpheus Rising is a K/S slash 162-page novel by Kathy Tipton. Art by: Chris Soto, Shelley Butler & C.L. Meyers, cover by Marianne Mueller, edited by Robin Hood.

Awards

Summaries

At dawn of Kirk and Spock's newly discovered love, an ancient and powerful being attacks Kirk, devouring his humanity, consuming his feeling, destroying the very essence of his humanness. What's left is an empty shell, utterly devoid of emotion, an uncaring, unfeeling captain of a starship and a total stranger to the Vulcan who loves him. Spock's life is shattered, and from the depths of his despair must face his beloved and adored human, now as his tormentor. This is the story of Kirk's emotional death and rebirth, the obsession for revenge, and Spock's struggle to regain not only his captain, but the man he once knew and loved. [2]
Kirk is attacked by an incorporeal entity and left without emotion just as he and Spock make their first tentative step toward a relationship. [3]

Excerpt

Everything done. Everything perfect James Kirk punched the button one last time and sat back feeling satisfied. Everything done, he thought, nothing on the desk, all shipshape. Nothing left in his 'to do' pile. For a paper hating man, it was a great feeling....

He sighed. The ship, even Spock showing signs of softening up more than usual of late.

Why just last night in the gym when he popped the Vulcan on the butt, Spock hadn't been mad, even allowed the humor of the situation to show in his brown eyes, if just for a second before he'd stiffened into his Vulcan cloak of respectability.

Kirk smiled, thinking of the sight even as he flushed. He refused to consider the reason for the heat racing then and now through his body as he had been ignoring the signals his body had been sending for some time now....

Reactions and Reviews: The Story

The basic idea for Morpheus Rising intrigued me quite a bit: that Kirk would be attacked and lose his emotions, right when he and Spock were on the edge of acknowledging their love and need for one another. This seems to me to be a wonderfully original idea, and I enjoyed reading the novel that made it come real. I especially liked the opening three or four chapters before Kirk is transformed, as he and Spock are exploring the attraction between them. I was struck by the way the novel's action plot was resolved, a very original use of the setting of Gol and katras that I've never considered before. And I was definitely drawn by the events of the novel to keep reading, quickly and with some urgency to find out what happened next, which is always the ultimate compliment you can pay to any work.

There were some glitches. For example, how did McCoy actually know that Kirk had lost his emotions but kept his memory even before he became conscious? Seems to me the author bypassed a wonderful segments of scenes there, where Spock and McCoy could become aware of what has happened to Kirk, and then convince him.

There were some internal contradictions too, which careful attention to detail could have cleared up, as well as some odd ways of ending chapters and then beginning the next one with essential the same words—for paragraphs! I couldn't quite figure that out.

But overall I was happy I read this novel and I recommend it. I know the author has been writing K/S for years, and yet there is still the same enthusiasm for Kirk and Spock and their love shining through, communicated to me, the reader. Hey, K/S lives! [4]
I must admit I had trouble recognizing Kirk and Spock, but especially Spock. An over-excess of emotion, maybe?

Liked the plot and the idea of non-emotionalism. I never really got the feeling that Kirk's retraining was going well, that he made progress, but I think it must be very hard to put that to paper.

I liked the way the plot moved along, very smooth and to its natural conclusion, both for Kirk and Spock, but also for Morpheus. Liked Sarek'scharacter—very much in tune with the series. [5]
Subtle but purposeful describe Kirk's and Spock's first attempts at expression of their deeply held feelings for each other. The early chapters are captivating, luring the reader to ignore whatever else might be on her agenda, needing only to learn what happens next to this budding love.

Adroitly tied to the danger-fraught mission, these simple expressions of concern and affection are easily linked to scenes we've seen in the series, yet they are charged with an intensity and sincerity the producers chose to leave to our imaginations.

So great were my expectations for our favorite heroes future that I found myself nearly as bereft as Spock at the unimaginable effect of an attach upon Kirk's landing party. Through previous reviews of this novel, I knew the Captain was destined to lose all ability to feel emotion. I expected it to be rather uninspiring. Then Spock and I realized together how vital that quality has been to the man we've known as commander of the Enterprise. Not only can he no longer adequately command the ship, he is unable to command the Vulcan's soul. Thus begins this galvanizing exploration of role-reversal.

The author does a masterful job of showing us how devastating this is on Spock (much moreso than Kirk, who quite simply doesn't know what's missing). Spock, sadly, knows all too well. Everything that made Kirk the light of } his life has been stolen from him. The quick half-smiles, the special looks, the understanding words and unexpected touches as just the right time have all vanished. The compassion for his crew, the obsession with his ship, the respect with which he treats every living thing—all have been removed. One would expect this to be a change quite acceptable to a Vulcan, but it rips at Spock's core. He tries. He wants to admire this captain. He wants to love this human. But gradually he realizes there is nothing to admire and, sadder still, nothing to love. In fact, Spock no longer sees Kirk as a friend or anyone he would consider befriending. Fortunately he has his memories of the joy this man has brought to his existence and clings to this lifeline. Kirk must be restored!

This is an arduous and painful journey of understanding and faith. Thanks to Ms. Tipton's own compassion, the non-personality phase is soon replaced by a return of emotion, but without the control that holds those emotions in check. Subject to wild mood swings, Kirk's new persona triggers Spock's defenses and he becomes pretty much a walking statue. These rapid-fire changes make this a novel that is very difficult to put down.

In the interest of others who dont know how these problems are solved, I prefer to highly recommend purchasing "Morpheus Rising" at the earliest opportunity and setting aside several hours for some serious and most — entrancing reading. [6]
A great new novel—fast-paced, emotionally involving and a darn good read. All this and a fabulously interesting story as well. Kirk is attacked by an alien creature who destroys all of his emotions. He is not robbed of his memories, he just feels nothing which begins a terrible dilemma for Spock who loves him and must deal with a truly alien Kirk.

It’s all beautifully plotted and moves along so nicely—I think I enjoyed almost every part of this novel. I really want to go into some depth here, so if you don’t mind my revealing some plot points—read on. Actually, I don’t feel this is that kind of novel—the kind that relies heavily on plot. A lot happens in this, yes, but it is also so rich in K/S and so filled with emotions that it just must be read. One of the best parts of the beginning is the building of Kirk and Spock’s relationship as we see them growing closer and we know it’s only a matter of time before they realize they’re meant for each other. There’s a wonderful scene where Kirk is preparing to have Spock over for dinner. I think I’ll always remember the gorgeous tablecloth, the special wine glasses and the roses similar to those from Amanda’s garden. The scene is made especially poignant by the tragedy that happens right afterward. After the creature has attacked Kirk, and Kirk is this empty shell of what he once was, it’s so sad for Spock as he struggles to relate to this unfeeling thing who used to be the man he loved. I just got all swept up in Spock’s angst as he has to confront Kirk and then later help him regain his emotions. To show Kirk as emotionless is a daunting task— he’s not hiding or covering his emotions, he literally doesn’t have any. This is such a terrific idea that I wished we could have seen a lot more of Kirk as he commands the ship and especially as he relates with Spock. But there is one event that showed Kirk’s condition very well—instead of having static scenes of McCoy talking about it or Spock having discussions about it, we are shown an interaction between Kirk and the crew. Kirk wants to dismiss a crewmember for nothing but tardiness just because it’s by-the- book. He has no compassion or caring one way or the other, so firing the guy means nothing to him. It’s strictly regulation. Everyone is horrified, including Spock, who, when he stands at Kirk’s cabin door and thinks how he has to go in through the front door. He straightens his tunic as he prepares to enter and must come face to face with the reality that the Kirk he knew is dead. Then another wonderful scene as Spock calls his mother! I just adored the way the author portrays Amanda in this novel. Every single scene with Amanda just radiates warmth and caring without being fake or too sweet. Her character is so well portrayed and this particular scene is made even more memorable by Spock’s relationship with her....

[much snipped for length]

... I thought the character of the evil Morpheus was particularly effective and Kirk’s confrontation with him was quite powerful. Kirk would do anything to protect Spock—even give up his life. So cool. I won’t reveal too much of the ending except to say that it’s inventive and very nicely done. Most of all, Kirk and Spock’s love prevails.

There were some weak moments, some awkward writing, and some parts that needed expanding, but none of those things seemed important when reading this lively and simply terrific novel. [7]
After the recent discussions in here about taking notes or not while reading, as an experiment I didn't take notes when reading this novel. My conclusion is that this doesn't work that well for me; not for a novel or a long story, anyway. I do need notes written at the time of reading to be able to do a halfway decent LOC. As it is, I'm left with lots of feelings and images, but the chronology isn't clear in my mind, for instance. Anyway, I know I enjoyed this novel—it was well- paced and kept me engaged throughout. And the art certainly enhanced the story. This great new artist Iraciema Mueller for an intimate cover. Two lovely Chris Sotos—Kirk so heroically handsome and sensitive; and a perfect Spock, too, down to his elegant hands. And whoa—a Shelley Butler of Kirk with open plaid shirt and hand down his jeans, oh my; plus another of a beautiful naked embrace. The inside-back- cover by CL Meyers was really nice, a delicately color- washed ink; from that series of photos shot from above (old TV Guide photos?), with the appreciated addition of putting Spock's hand on Kirk's shoulder. This was a perfect story idea—a simple and effective sci-fi premise with a definite ST feel, and a perfect backdrop to K/S. Wonderfully unique, the idea of this entity sucking Kirk dry of all emotion. A person with no emotion, Kirk with no emotion, is obviously quite a challenge to write and keep it subtle, not cartoonish. And the author did it really well. There's no memory loss or anything, just loss of emotion...and the captain cannot be captain without emotion. Not to mention, Kirk can't be the lover. This is incredibly difficult for Spock. Just prior to this happening to Kirk, he and Spock were just beginning to get closer, just to the point of acknowledging their feelings for each other. So this makes for great drama, to be separated at this moment.

I know the author did this purposely, but we don't find out until near the end that this Morpheus being is one of Sargon's people, banished to a planet by him for his evil, greedy intentions. I would have liked to know this sooner, as I would then have had an immediate and clear sense of how this inhabiting-other-bodies worked. Kirk agrees he must try to regain his emotions, so they go to a secluded cabin on a planet. The way Kirk comes on to Spock is so cold and unfeeling—this is the best of that painful kind of nastiness I can really enjoy in K/S. It's interesting how Spock senses nothing from being in contact with Kirk. Maybe emotions are like a conduit for touch-telepathy; maybe thoughts by themselves don't read as well. No, never mind—I just thought of V'ger, its pure intellect with no feeling. Spock certainly picked up on that well enough. Sorry, a little straying there. Anyway, I liked that idea, of poor Spock not being able to feel that connection he must love so much when touching Kirk. The sex that does take place here is more of that hurts-so-good kind to read. Spock only participates because it could presumably be a help in Kirk regaining his emotions. Eventually they do come back. I think that his emotions returning wasn't really vividly shown. I guess it's okay, though; they could well have just come back very gradually. It took me just a little while, but then I realized that the outbursts of ugliness he's having are because Morpheus is still in him. The last part was on Vulcan. Just one scene I adored was between Spock and Sarek, Sarek being very comforting to his son. This is so beautiful.

The whole thing about how they deal with Morpheus is ingenious and dramatic; I think I won't go into detail (though I do remember all of this). I really liked this whole part, the setting at Gol, using the souls in the Hall of Katras to help. The struggle continued to almost the end, very satisfyingly. As was the resolution satisfying, with Kirk and Spock together again at the end of course, picking up where they had left off, though much richer for what they'd been through together. [8]

Reactions and Reviews: The Art

INTERIOR ART by C. L. Meyers: As an artist myself, I know the source photo of this artwork is incredibly difficult to draw. Some photographs, no matter how they seem, are nearly impossible to translate into art. But this wonderful artist accomplished it beautifully. Kirk and Spock look up at us and the best part is that Spock has his arm around Kirk, resting it on his shoulder. And the pale touch of color is perfect as well as the stars that surround them. A lovely work.

CALM SPOCK by Chris Soto: Every time I see a Chris Soto artwork, I mourn her passing. She was such an accomplished and prolific artist who did some of the best K/S art for many years.

I felt compelled to LOC this piece and I titled it myself one because it deserves a title and two because when Chris was alive, she and I used to decide on titles together. This piece is a wonderful Spock. He’s looking up as he sits at his console and I’m struck by the angle and perspective. The entire background is filled with the console and this is very difficult to do and to do as well as Chris has done here. Most importantly, Spock is gorgeous! [9]

References

  1. from The K/S Press #40
  2. from the flyer
  3. from Gilda F
  4. from The K/S Press #36
  5. from The K/S Press #50
  6. from The K/S Press #63
  7. from The K/S Press #37
  8. from The K/S Press #39
  9. by [S B] in The K/S Press #40