One More Door
|Title:||One More Door|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
It was published in Nome #10.
"As Spock and Kirkʼs daughter prepares to leave for Starfleet, Kirk must tell his bondmate of the potentially fatal disease he has contracted."
Reactions and Reviews
Death is just one more door. That is the conclusion Kirk comes to when forced to deal with his own mortality. Kirk has contracted an incurable virus and he is dying, slowly but steadily. Flashbacks show us their lives, their bonding, their decision to have a child, their parenthood, all doors they have passed through. Beginning and ending with T’Lena’s departure for Starfleet academy, we are being given an overall view of their life together, the love that binds them. Beautiful. 
There is always at least one story which because of its poor treatment of a plot or a badly portrayed characterization of Kirk or Spock loses points for the entire zine. This time the honor goes to Ellen Morris' ONE MORE DOOR in which Kirk and Spock have a daughter of their own - genetically engineered by McCoy. Kirk is now at a ground assignment and Spock plays the role of a doting father. Their characters are not those of the Kirk and Spock I know and love, and the story is absurd and soap-operatic in the extreme avoid this one entirely. 
ONE MORE DOOR by Ellen Morris; I found the premise somewhat untenable - a personal prejudice. I've always had difficulty buying that Kirk and Spock could have a child (I don't care how many advances science makes In 300 years!). But even aside from that, the story was depressing to me, even though it was well-written (or well-edited). 
Ellen Morris's "One More Door" seemed to have an extra plot in it. The central "fact" in the story, the secret Kirk is hiding, seemed a little unnecessary to me; the strength of the story is in a good idea, well worked-out. The story of T'Lena's conception, birth, and rearing was what really interested me—all very convincing, except Kirk's willingness to spend twenty years planetbound. And Chris Soto's illos are perfect; T'Lena looks as described in the story, and just like her daddies. 
Not the first time that this has been done, but a nice story. I particularly liked the "every departure is an arrival" theme. I did have a few problems with mechanics that I'd like to point out: 1) There were a number of paragraphs that had more than one speaker, making conversation difficult to follow; 2) The flashbacks were so dominant—up until the time that K and S melded —that they might have worked better being presented as one large, single flashback; and 3) I found it distracting when the narrator referred to Kirk as "Jim." Still, a good read and a refreshing established relationship story. I thought Chris Soto's illos very effectively showed T'Lena resembling Kirk more than Spock. 
I didn't care for Ellen Morris's "One More Door," primarily because I don't like stories that have any of my favorite characters dying off. Chris Soto's art is outstanding—as usual—and I surprised myself by actually liking T'Lena. Few people in fandom can create likable female characters. But, I suppose, who could not like the daughter of Kirk and Spock? 
Reactions and Reviews: Some 1988 Meta on the State of K/S Fiction
This story was discussed in several larger reviews. One fan compared "One More Door" and the other stories in Nome #10 as examples of the way 1980s fanfiction represents K/S:
This is one of the most interesting issues of the series. It contains six good length stories plus poetry and art. All the writing is of the high standard we have come to expect from Nome, so this review is on the basis of a) personal preference and b) an idea I have about current trends in K/S.
I enjoyed Nome 10 because whether or not I agreed with the themes and characterisation, each story provided something to think about rather than the usual first time 'wallow'. For example "Sea Change" by Barbara Storey, my favourite in the zine, is a post ST IV story which sets Gillian's adjustments to the 23rd century against Kirk and Spock's relationship. Spock has forgotten his previous life as Kirk's lover. He must make changes before he can return to Kirk. I liked this for the lovely warm pictures of Spock from Gillian's POV.
Michele Arvisu contributes two pieces. The first is not strictly K/S but shows the Series Spock trying to understand 'the grand fallacy' of his existence on the Enterprise and his place among the crew. I felt uncomfortable with this one. To make it work. Kirk must be bumptious and insensitive with Spock, which in the series he isn't - bad-tempered, yes, but quick to apologise. Here he orders Spock to strip (in his quarters at least) so that he can see what he's got! Then he instigates nude wrestling with his discomfited F.O. and afterwards cheerily tells him that he's had his first homosexual experience! Later Kirk openly flirts with a woman while silently mouthing "I love you" over her shoulder at Spock. As Leslie Fish has said, "Not my Jim" - thought-provoking though.
Michele's second is post ST IV. Spock vows things will be easier with Jim this time (they were not lovers in the past), but only after he has sorted out the pon farr business and had sex with Saavik! Again out of character for me but interesting.
"Mirror Allegiance" by Flora Poste finally reaches a sort of conclusion to the saga (although a postscript is promised). Written in her customary meticulous style, this segment seemed rather wordy to me. All the action is retrospective, which is hard to handle with variety. I could feel the author shifting her characters from sofa to fireplace to window to break the monotony. I do like her careful exploration of relationships but I think she has overdone it this time.
Elwyn Conway also reaches a stopping point but as usual, I wish she would give us more of her excellent plotting and minor characters and less saccharine. This time under the influence of the Etife's love and peace hippy style planet nearly everyone pours out feelings for everyone else (as usual, too, no one does anything).
The least satisfactory story for both style and content is "One More Door" by Ellen Morris in which Kirk and Spock produce a daughter by genetic and McCoy's manipulation and Kirk contracts a nasty bug which will probably carry him off - pure soap! It may be unkind to say so but I suspect the author has no experience of impending bereavement or if she has, she can't write it.
The poetry, real poetry not prose-in-chunks-on-a-page, is of very high quality, especially the work by Flora Poste.
As a whole Nome interested me because I think I detect an intriguing reflection of K/S in general in its present form and I think, too, I may have found at least part of an answer to that perennial question, why not more established stories and why so many first-timers. To explain I'll have to take you back to the 70's when K/S was just getting into print. With Thrust, Companion, and others, writers and readers found they had a phaser on overload in their laps. The idea of K/S was not well received by fandom in general, so that those first zines and their immediate successors were faced with the task of explaining K/S not just to the outside world but to K/Sers themselves. It was special, they said; it was not gay, they said; two heterosexuals who love each other; it was pon farr; it was unique; etc, etc. Yet as the years passed, instead of readers and writers getting accustomed to the idea - yes, OK, they're lovers, so what happened next? - in 1988 they are still flailing with desperate explanations, and Nome 10 is a case in point. Six stories, five writers, and all trying to justify, rationalise, explain in heterosexual terms the K/S premise. Kirk and Spock produce a daughter (born naturally in a tank, 'delivered' by McCoy). Only after sex with Saavik can Spock express his love for Jim. Elwyn Conway states time and again that Kirk isn't homosexual, that the relationship is unique, spiritual, transcendent and blessed by the Etife, her and their guru (very 60's). The ambivalence runs deep.
Even Flora Poste has them agonising at length. Only Barbara Storey seems comfortable, describing them as lovers before her narrative starts. Still Spock has to talk to a female (albeit a well spoken whale) before he can return to Jim.In general the relationship is not accepted, not taken for granted and always worried over. Is this part of the 80's backlash? Is this why there are still the endless first timers, because even K/S fans cannot accept what they created? Is it also the reason for the lack of established relationship zines? I can only resort to rhetorical questions. 
Kirk and Spock are long term lovers, yes, but their relationship is not complete until they produce a child (by McCoy's genetic manipulation) and this baby is delivered in the most "natural" way possible. The story seems to imply that the relationship cannot be considered as complete in itself but must be ratified in (what is in this century) a heterosexual manner.
Michele Arvizu's "An Easier Time" seems to produce the same answer to the problem. The post-Voyage Home pair have no relationship and, it seems, cannot have one until Spock has had sex and converse with Saavik. Only through her can he learn to accept and later voice his love for Kirk. "He thought of his time with Saavik. She had given all this to him. She had put things in perspective, made him feel unique, special, loved. Given him the courage to speak of love to Jim and the chance to reinvent himself." So again, homosexual love has been somehow verified by heterosexuality.
Michele's other story [Ampersand] echoes the theme. Although not primarily K/S, it is made clear that Spock cannot begin to understand Jim without detailed reference to McCoy and particularly Uhura (with whom at one stage he wishes to spend the night). "Sea Change" approaches the dilemma more easily, but even here the intervention of a female is needed, albeit of Gracie, the whale! Barbara is, however, more comfortable with her characters; Kirk and Spock were lovers before Genesis. Flora Poste's "Mirror Allegiance" is A/U and therefore not subject to quite the same criteria, but Kirk and Spock still agonize desperately over the simple fact of sex, this in a universe of extreme sophistication. Still, we don't have the he's-heterosexual-he-can't-possibly tangle.
The story that is the keystone of the argument is Elwyn Conway's continuing saga. Her heroes are heterosexual and she states this firmly and often. For example. Kirk says of himself and Sulu, "He'd never been sexually attracted to any man and wasn't about to make an exception now." Elwyn seems to need to explain and vindicate Kirk and Spock's love time after time. It is spiritual, overpowering, different from that of any other couple, "A love that transcends sex" and finally is blessed and sanctioned by a guru figure, the Etifa. Having gone carefully through the zine, it seems to me that NOME 10 is quintessential of the 80's. There is no matter of fact approach. (A British writer once defined the ultimate K/S story as, "the red alert goes, Kirk and Spock jump out of bed and get on with the adventure.") There are no established stories (and very few at all in K/S). Is this the result of the Puritan backlash of AIDS? Is this why there are still so many first time stories? I wait hopefully for your reaction. (By the way, when the infamous Clause 27 of the Local Government Act is passed in Great Britain, which forbids the 'promotion' of homosexuality as a valid lifestyle, the writing of K/S will become technically illegal.)Finally, I must say that I thought NOME 10 one of the best of the series; well-written, a good variety of stories, and thought provoking.