The Better Man

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Title: The Better Man
Publisher: in England
Author(s): Sue Embury
Cover Artist(s):
Date(s): November 1991
Medium: print
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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The Better Man is a 149-page (135,000 word) gen Star Trek novel by Sue Embury.

It Never Happened is this zine's "missing scene," the explicit sex scene that was written about two years later.


An alternative version of the Classic Star Trek episode 'Turnabout Intruder.' Jim Kirk is trapped in the body of a woman, and Spock is the only one who believes his true identity. Jim is committed to a psychiatric hospital while a psychopath with the appearance of James T. Kirk is in command of the Enterprise. The story explores how Kirk copes with his dispossession and how Spock and the Enterprise crew respond to the situation. Illustrated. [1]

Reactions and Reviews

In Sue Embury's story, James T Kirk is trapped in Janice Lester's body, and Janice Lester's behaviour as Captain of the Enterprise is at first not sufficiently out of character to set the crew wondering. The only person who knows the truth is Spock, and no-one will listen to him, not even McCoy. Kirk is sent to a mental facility for 'rehabilitation' and Spock allows himself to be manoeuvred off the Enterprise by Lester, as Captain, so that he can be with Kirk and attempt to find a solution to the problem, The line explores Kirk's reactions to being female and the relationship between Spock and the female Kirk - a relationship which takes an interesting direction. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is not a happy shiP: morale is low; McCoy is unhappy and suspicious and so is the acting Science Officer, Lieutenant Commander Venables. The situation is eventually resolved, but not without some interesting twists and turns, eg the appearance of a delightful race of aquatic aliens. I enjoyed the line, Sue Embury's stories are well written - she has the ability to take you inside a character's head. Kirk's reactions to his new form are explored in interesting detail, as are 'his' reactions to Spock; and Sue solves the problem of what to call Kirk and Lester when they have swapped without causing confusion. Sue also manages to keep up the tension, even though the reader knows that things must work out. [2]
THE BETTER MAN is an alternative Turnabout Intruder story; Kirk is trapped in Janice Lester's body and no-one except Spock believes him. He is sent, as Janice Lester, to a rehabilitation hospital to be 'cured.' Spock goes with him, determined to reveal the truth. In THE BETTER MAN, Spock and the female Kirk grow very close, but, keeping Spock in character (as is right), Sue does not let them indulge. When one is reading that zine, one feels very frustrated that the relationship is never consummated, even while recognising that it is right for it not to be. However, Sue must have felt that frustration too, because she has written that missing sex scene. She describes it as 'a brief indulgence.' and it is that, both for the author and the protagonists. I really enjoyed reading A BETTER MAN and inserting IT NEVER HAPPENED in the 'right' place. You really have to have read THE BETTER MAN to appreciated IT NEVER HAPPENED. [3]


  1. ^ from an ad in Star Trek Action Group #102
  2. ^ from IDIC #21
  3. ^ from IDIC #27