The Castaways (Star Trek: TOS zine by M.L. Dodge)

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Title: Castaways
Publisher: Teri Meyer (editor) Vicki R. Kirlin (publisher)
Author(s): Mary Louise Dodge
Cover Artist(s): see article
Illustrator(s): Joni Wagner
Date(s): January 1977
Medium: print zine
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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The Castaways is a 1977 Star Trek: TOS het novel by Mary Louise Dodge.

According to a flyer, it was a Berengaria Special Edition.

The cover design is a Spock/Fiamma sketch by Joni Wagner, background by Teri Meyer, and silk screening done by Mary G. Buser. The author gives special thanks "to those who formed our assembly line carrying the moist covers from room to room... Ellen, Erin, Carol, Sondra, Sylvia, Jean, Susan, Trish, and Vicki's son, Mark. Their voluntary assistance was sorely needed and many thanks to them."

A Flyer Description

  • Here is a careful examination of Spock's innermost secrets, the reactions of his Vulcan training to the one woman who can penetrate his guarded emotions!
  • Working from Spock's most vulnerable point the author creates a situation that subjects him to every kind of emotional strain; in a suspenseful story of a wrecked shuttlecraft on a forbidden and deadly planet.

Gallery of Art from The Castaways

The final image, which is the original cover without the silkscreening, appears on a reprint edition of this zine. That undated printing includes all of the original art, and the only textual difference is that the price statement on the copyright page has been changed from "Price is $2.50 in person; for first class mailing - $3.50" to the odder construction "Price is $2.50 in person for first class mailing."

Some Art and Poetry Inspired by The Castaways

Reactions and Reviews


Basically a romance, the characters stay pretty well within their generally accepted characterizations, and this is a very innocuous story. Dodge does write with style.

The art of this 'zine was done by Joni Wagner, and that in itself is worth the $3.50. [1]

The Castaways is a one shot zine comprised solely of the story by the same name and a poem by Florence Mary Peruse. The Castaways, the story, was written by Mary Louise Dodge of Delta Triad fame.

The story starts out by having Klingons attack the shuttle containing Spock, a galactically famous singer, Madame Fiaraa Coretti, her two assistants and two ever-ready, expendable security men. The crippled craft takes refuge on a high radiation planet, that is off limits to exploration due to an advanced anthropode life living there, and the security men and Madame Coretti's assistants are killed, leaving the ice cold Coretti and Spock to try and survive until the Enterprise can come and rescue them. The Enterprise is unable to find them and is called away just as the Klingons arrive. Will the Enterprise return in time? Will the Klingons find Spock and torture him? Will the radiation and raging storms that blanket the planet kill the survivors? Read it and find out for yourself!

The plot is good in that it contains both elements of a romance and an adventure, which is indeed rare in ST fie. The characterisation is, for the most part, good, with Kirk the best and Spock the worst. The main problem with her Spock is in his dialogue, which is, in my opinion, too human, but this is a minor quibble and doesn't affect the overall story. Madame Coretti is also a well-handled and believable character.

Art is few and far between, but what there is is top quality work by Joni Wagner, It's only a pity there wasn't more.

The covers are nice, the front being silkscreen.

I recommend this to any and all of you M L Dodge fans out there, and if you are not, this is a good place to start. [2]

Lovely silk screen cover of Spock and Fiamma, 75 unreduced offset pages with Joni Wagner's "beautiful illos throughout. A Spock-fan must, as it all seems most logical. Anyone who has enjoyed Mary Lou's smooth professional style in the Delta Triad zine is going to be well entertained with this good Spock romantic-adventure story. Contrived? Yes, but the reader doesn't mind literary tricks as long as the characterizations are good, the plot moves along, and the situations described have some originality. Briefly, Spock and opera singer, Mrs. Fiamma Coretti are the castaways on an apparently deserted Glass M planet. They combat the elements, illnesses, accidents (Spock seems unusually accident-prone), Klingons, and to a lessor degree, anthropoids, while they await rescue by the Enterprise. After all this they are at the point of being rescued before they realize their mutual respect has deepened into love, with noble renunciations clearly in their immediate future. The personal scenes on the E, post-rescue, seem redundant to me, the bonding serving absolutely no useful purpose as we understand it, as she heads back to husband and career, and he to a very uncertain fate when pon farr inevitably overtaken him once again. If their feelings were going to deepen, it seems far more likely they would have sone so on the planet, where they cuddled cosily as they slept each night, and delightfully sang duets for entertainment, a seemingly perfect match. It's a good story with reasonable skullduggery by the dirty Klingons going on as counterpoint to their efforts at survival, with glimpses of the... Kirk/Uhura relationship that DT promotes, and the derring-do of everyday life on a Federation starship. [3]

One of the staples of the Trekzine diet has been the Spock romance-adventure story. With The Castaways, Mary Lou Dodge turns her writing talents to this sub-genre, and comes up with an above average tale. The heroine is Madame Fiamma Coretti, an operatic prima donna. She's a strong, independent character; beautiful, intelligent and self-sufficient. The plot traps Fiamma and Spock together on a planet where a Klingon plot to enslave the natives provides action and danger. Through music, close companionship and sacrifice, love gradually develops between the two, even though they know that rescue means eventual parting. Fiamma is perhaps a person whom Spock could love, and the plot provides reasonable enough background for such a love to develop. Mary Lou is able to keep Spock in character through most of the work (and does not ignore the problem of pon farr except for some human lapses at the end, forgivable only if your Spock also has a very human side which might be awakened by the right woman. There is no porn here, rather the emphasis is on the relationship between Spock and Fiamma as people whose love presents impossible problems. The thin plotting that often plagues this sub-genre is not a difficulty here; the Klingons cause troubles for Spock, Fiamma, and Kirk which are in keeping with the nastiness we are accustomed to and which maintain suspense. Also, Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and the ship are not abandoned, but have their own roles, if minor, to play. Nevertheless, 'The Castaways' wouldn't quite stand alone as an adventure novel; the love story remains, as planned, the central story. Joni Wagner's illos are full-page and add to both the novel and to Fiamma's character. The covers (and front one is silkscreened) are not terribly inspiring but are of good, thick, protective paper. The printing is clear and easy to read. Mary Lou's writing is smooth. 'The Castaways' is for you if want something milder and more readable than some of the harsher love stories circulating fandom currently. [4]

The Castaways is a zine everyone should rush out and buy, if for no other reason than it has Joni Wagner illos and costs only $3.50. In these troubled times, the latter makes for a real inducement. You will probably enjoy it -- no overt sex, or on-stage violence. Nothing here for the most sensitive reader to object to. Or even get excited about. The plot is pretty straight-forward... Spock and Fiamma Coretti, a soprano of some galactic repute, crashland on this planet. They get chased by a bunch of Klingons and are rescued at the Last Second by the Enterprise. They discover they are madly in love with each other, but it would never work out so they must part, and they do. (The End). Meanwhile back at Starfleet. Fortuneately, The Castaways reads much better than it synopsizes; Dodge is a good writer and rises above her plot. The concurrent detective work on the Enterprise in searching for Spock and Fiamma, now the two survive on the planet and evade the Klingons... make for a relatively interesting story. Unfortunately... well, it's hard to say what's off here, but Dodge has written better stuff before. The characters rush around a lot, declare their fear and loathing of the nasty brutal Klingons loudly and often, even get struck by lightning, but the feeling one comes away with is that nothing happened. Possibly this is becoz there is very little emotional developemnt in the story course; *poof* Spock and Fiamma crashland, *poof* the Klingons are there ready to subject Fiamma to a Fate Worse than Death... The story is told pretty well; Dodge couldn't write badly if she tried... but it gives us very little insight into Spock's or Fiamma's character... [5]

Imagine cool, logical Mr. Spock 'shipwrecked' on a far-off planet. Imagine his companion, an opera singer, with a body as beautiful as her voice, and a reserve as great as Spock's. Enter the Klingons who just happen to be using this particular planet to capture slave labor in the form of some semi-intelligent anthropods. This is the basic setting for 'The Castaways.' The novel is competently written which unfortunately does not deliver everything it promises at the beginning. We are given an interesting character in the person of Fiamma Coretti. Her personality is well-developed and well-motivated. Madame Coretti is a strong woman who is both capable and willing to do her part in the trying situations she and Spock face. She works, makes sacrifices, and, in the end, saves Spock's life at great risk to her own. What makes her believable is that she is also quite well-rounded in feeling. Fiamma has both natural fears and weaknesses and love and gentleness to temper her brash facade. Unfortunately, Spock's character is not as well-handled. He begins as a 'standard' Mr. Spock, whose motivations the reader must cull from knowledge gained elsewhere. About midway the character changes, leaving the reader to wonder whether Spock has changed in some unexplained way, or if the author's characterization has simply strayed. What makes Spock fall passionately in love with the singer is not explained at all. The plot moves from one hazardous situation to the next, until the reader finally gets one crisis too many. 'The Castaways' would have probably made a good 30 to 40 page story. It would seem that both the author and the publishers stretched matters to make this a 'novella.' The story holds up, if a little shakily, until the climax. Madame Coretti's ridiculous escape from a group of Klingon soldiers is, in a word, impossible. No military men anywhere, much less ones built up previously in the story as savage, brutal, and efficient marauders, would have fallen prey to the kind of situation Mary Louise Dodge sets up. 'The Castaways' is about 85 pages of easily readable offset and includes a good poem by Florence Mary Peruso and lovely illustrations by Joni Wagner. [6]

First of all I want to congratulate you (Mary Lou Dodge) on the ending; I think It is the first realistic ending to a Spock affair that I have seen in fan fiction-it could have been used on the air. The heroine didn't die, Spock didn't die, they didn't get married and live happily ever after all differences forgotten. I think many fan writers don't care to face the realities that would be involved in a relationship with Spock, but you've not only done that, you've created a heroine whose own situation wouldn't allow her the 'happy ending'. She's also very believable as a character Spock could love, though I must say I didn't see In her character as written much sign of the vaunted iciness. One might explain this as a result of her shock, or of the enforced Intimacy, since Spock is also not at his most distant. (I wonder—facetiously—if Spock might not have had the Vulcan version of a crush on her before they ever met, if she was a famous singer and he a lover of music.)

Another good point about the novella was that the Klingons weren't looking for the traditional dilithium—that device had been getting awfully overworked— and their actual purpose on these planets was quite plausible. However, if they were taking natives from more than normally radioactive planets, wouldn't those natives have had difficulty adjusting to an environment In which the level of radiation was considerably lower than what they were used to? Presumably they would have adapted to their radioactive ecology and might even need the radioactivity for survival; if nothing else, their level of mutations ought to be considerably higher than on Earth-normal planets. Perhaps their entire evolution would be considerably speeded up (possibly, though not likely, to the point where it could be that they had progressed from a lower point on the evolutionary scale to the point where they were capable of organizing against the Klingons in the time the Federation had known about the planet). And it occurs to me that the Klingons might be very wise in removing natives from planets with high radioactivity, if that radiation was speeding up their evolution—away from the source of radioactivity, the evolution might be slowed down, and the people remain at a primitive level for something approaching normal (or longer, possibly) evolutionary periods (judged from an Earth standard, of course).

There were two things that I didn't really like about the novella: one was the tendency of people to get injured and/or ill almost to the point where it became a get/Spock and Fiamma story, although under the circumstances the illnesses and injuries are not entirely unlikely; still, they occasionally seemed to have occurred in order that an emotional point might be made (and I've done that myself). However, the points were always nicely subtle. The other thing that bothered me occasionally was the treatment of women. It's one thing for Kirk to show protective instincts toward Uhura and generally chauvinistic feelings about women; he's like that much as we may dislike that. But some of the women — and the strongest women at that — showed traces of the same attitude about themselves. Uhura seemed to see herself in that light in the episode with the Klingons, for instance. But the line I really didn't like was Fiamma's complaint that she hated being a woman on page 54, as if the natural role of women was to wait while men faced danger, which is the Implication of that line. Obviously she believes it, but it's out of character for her; just leaving out the one line about her hating to be a woman would have brought the exchange into character for Fiamma — I can clearly see that she would hate to be left out of the action, and hate waiting, but because of her personality she might resent being forced to stay behind because other people thought that as a woman she was incapable of keeping up, too. The comment Is also out of place because Spock didn't make any reference to her being a woman, only to her being slower than he was, which could as easily have referred to her humanity rather than her feminity, and probably did—he would't have made the same comment to McCoy, for instance. I know this is a relatively minor point, but it did bug me somewhat, as much because it was out of character for Fiamma, who is an excellent and strong character, as for any other reason.

I might also add that Amy's Illustrations were marvelous; do you know if she happened to use a model for Fiamma?[7] The final illustration, the leave-taking one, is my favorite because of the emotional has managed to convey in Fiamma's face. [8]

Congratulations'. You avoided all the gimmicks mentioned in the ad.

Fiamma was quite a woman: reserved, yet filled with fiery emotions! Truly a worthy one to be Spock's consort. I, myself, have had reservations in reading stories where human females won Spock, for one reason. I figured: if Spock can't accept his own human half, how could he possibly take a human wife? But you took a different tack, a human appealing to his Vulcan half.

Also, I must admit you bested me in answering the question: "What is the greatest sacrifice a woman can make for the man she loves?0 My answer was: "Wipe all memories of herself from his mind—when there's no chance for a love affair." But I must admit Fiamma really proved her love when she rushed toward an almost certain fate of rape at the hands of the Klingons, in order to save Spock.

However, there were reservations I had about the script: namely, how the Kirk/ Uhura affair was handled. I refer to Kirk's convents about his destruct order on page 51 - "I can't let any harm come to her, and whatever happens, she can't fall Into Klingon hands." But there were others in the landing party, besides her. Why didn't Kirk say: "None of us can afford to fall Into Klingon hands?" After all, as the captain, Kirk would be concerned for the welfare of every person under his command. If one gave a little thought to those contents, the big secret would be revealed! Maybe Kirk can pass it off as chivalry toward females; but he'd better watch it.

I save my favorite point for last. I am delighted that finally we learn that there is more to the Kirk/Spock [9] relationship than mere duty, as in the Delta Triad universe! But Kirk is more restrained in showing his feelings, because his friend's nature is very reserved. It makes me feel a bit better to find out that underneath it, they still do care about each other. As Mel can tell you, that's what I was asking for — a sign that some deep friendship was there. And you remember the triangle revealed in your T-Negative article: Spock and Uhura both love Kirk and they are both loved by him as well.

P.S. One last comment about Uhura's involvement with the Klingons: anyone who's prejudiced enough to believe that a group is "less business-like" when a woman is present deserves much worse punishment than what the Klingons got. Hope the Federation isn't that stupid! [10]

Like most any Trek story, "The Castaways" has is good points and its bad points. Good points included a fairly decent rendering of Spock's mannerisms (lots of people have problems with that, including me), a heroine who is reasonably competent (I hate incompetent characters), a halfway tasteful description of a mind meld (most people get terribly goopy about such things), and an interesting glimpse of Klingon background (which I need for my story.) I promise I won't break copyright, though. Not to mention a potentially exciting adventure. Unfortunately, all these good points were far outweighed by the bad points — at least for me. First and foremost, the plot was so obvious I knew from page one what the intentions of the story was, namely that Spock and 'La Fredda' should fall in love with each other. In fact, they were literally forced into love, whether they liked it or not. The entire sequence of events was forced, and it resisted violently, coming across as basically unreal. While Ms. Dodge did a good job of capturing Spock's mannerisms, she never did quite succeed in capturing him, much less Ms. Coretti. The most annoying thing about the whole story was the double climax; first their rescue by the ENTERPRISE, and second, their mind meld. I've been noticing more and more of these double climaxes in Trek-flc, particularly the more romantic variety, lately, as if the authors just couldn't get enough of a catharsis from the first and had to try again. As for me, the parts I liked best all had to do with Kirk's half of the story, which could've been considerably expanded without harm to the story as a whole. In fact, it might've improved it considerably and made the romance a bit more bearable. Other problems with the story were technological in nature, such as the construction of the shuttle (how convenient for getting rid of non-essential personnel), the landing sequence, the speed of the shuttlecraft, later, the bit about the incidents appearing 'all over the galaxy', and so on, all indications that insufficient care was exercised to create believability. Also, the episodes concerning Kirk all seemed rushed, as If Ms. Dodge couldn't wait to get back to Spock and Fiamma, and the whole story seemed rushed, as if she couldn't wait to get them bonded. When one reads that scene, the rest of the story becomes little more than an appendage; this is what she really wanted to say, and the story proper was simply included to justify it. What puzzles me, however, is that if the two were Bonded as she says, then how can their story be bitter-sweet? They'll always be in contact, whether they ever see each other again or not. She'll never be able to learn how to love her own husband, and Spock will never be able to fully commit himself to any other woman as a wife. That is tragic—but clearly not what Ms. Dodge had in mind.

I'm a nit-picker, like most authors and artists, and I've also got a nit to pick about the artwork. Joni Wagner 1s an extremely competent portraitist, but I've yet to see her do any real action shots. I could've cried at all the beautiful scenes that went completely unillustrated between page three and page 59.... such as the scene where Fiamma is tricking the Klingons with her little marching dance, or the scene where the anthropoid mother throws her baby at Spock, or that glorious fight scene on the Klingon bridge. [11]

Mary Louise Dodge has written yet another great Trek story. Any one who reads Delta Triad will at test to that fact. This particular story is called The Castaways and is a novel by itself.


Written by anyone other than Mary Louise Dodge the story would probably have been nothing special. But she puts depth into it. The concern of Kirk, what happens be tween Spock and Fiamma, and especially the climactic ending all contribute to an outstanding novel. Fiamma is not just a typical dumb female found so often in literature. Even though she is a well-known personality where ever she goes, it doesn't hinder her from having a level-headed attitude towards their situation. She helps when needed and Spock often chides her for it. And the ending - oh, you've got to read it - beautifully portrays what "must be."


Tne conflicts that arise and are fought, both mentally and physically, add a touch of action to the plot. Unspoken thoughts and desires that cause anguish to the thinker happen in real life just as they happen in the story, Mary Louise's characters are not superficial paper people. They live, breathe, and most of all think rationally. I highly recommend any thing that she has written. But do read The Castaways and pass it around. Don't be selfish. [12]


Another large group of stories presents what might be termed an unconsciously negative description of marriage. In these stories the author presents what is apparently intended to be a positive picture of marriage but it is one that contains elements that can only be seen as negative by the skeptical reader. Frequently these stories operate on the underlying assumption that marriage is the normal and desirable condition of mature individuals. They also assume that physical attraction, rather than intellectual or psycho logical compatibility, is the surest foundation for a lasting relationship.

Two examples of this type of story are Echoes of the Past by Rebecca Ross and Castaways by Mary Louise Dodge. Ross' main character is a time-displaced twentieth century woman who becomes attached to Spock and his family in this "old-fashioned love story." The final denouement hinges on the definitely old-fashioned idea that a woman will respond better to a man who uses physical violence as a means of expressing his opinions or wishes.

"Castaways" by Mary Louise Dodge presents an even less enticing view of marriage. The protagonists are Spock and a famous diva, Fiamma Corretti, with whom he falls in love while they are awaiting rescue after the crash of a shuttlecraft. Corretti is married already to a man who had manipulated and debased the relationship, apparently with her agreement and cooperation. She refuses to divorce her husband and marry Spock, however, on the grounds that she "won't do anything to hurt Alberto or bring him to ridicule" though she has already admitted that "ours is not a marriage fidelity has a place in . . . I provide a shield against any permanent commitment." When she and Spock finally part after much soul-searching and breast-beating on the part of all involved, the reader is told that though she refuses to participate in an active relationship, Fiamma will be able to maintain a constant awareness of all of Spock's emotional activities in the future-- a kind of mental "Watch and Ward Society."

In both of these stories the authors believe that their women characters have made reasonable and logical adjustments to the reality of their lives. Neither Ross nor Dodge, however, seems to be in the least concerned about the sexist and coercive attitudes of the societies they have created. The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that neither woman recognizes the essential nature of her creation, but instead believes that such situations are not only inevitable but right. [13]


This is a very beautiful and very moving story by Mary Louise Dodge. It is sad, but is not about death. It is about Spock but all the other main Enterprise charcters appear and are shown to advantage. It is, in fact, Spock's love story and yet wholly believable. It is also a very exciting adventure story.

Spock has the job of escorting an internationally famous and very beautiful opera singer to the Enterprise in one of the shuttles. It is wrecked on a planet inhabited only by apemen but coveted and invaded by Klingons. The singer has always been known as 'La Preddo' - 'The Cold One' - in many ways she and Spock are two of a kind.

In the struggle for survival them come, few words, to understand and finally to love each other. They decide - and here I feel inclined to thin they are behaving too nobly -- that they must part. They cannot marry because each has obligations to others. But in the course of a deep mind meld they come to understand each other completely.

The zine is beautiful to handle with a silk screen cover and delightful pictures, the best Spock that I know and a most satisfying picture of Kirk and Uhura together, I defy anyone to read this story and not love Spock too. [14]

I read it and promptly got rid of my copy. I could see Spock learning to respect the woman but nothing more...and if it had been handled that way, yes, I think I would have quite liked it, for Mary Louise Dodge is a good writer. [15]

A Tongue-in-Cheek Review: 1978

In 1978, a fan wrote a review of this story. It is unknown if it was with the permission or approval of Mary Louise Dodge.

the illo from this farcical review in WXYZine #1, artist is Guinn Berger


A Novellette by Murky L. Drudge

(Review by Nettie Picker)

Fatima Confetti, the greatest flamenco dancer in all Spain, is making a grand tour of the civilized planets. All three of them. Fatima, known as La Fuente ('The Fountain') because she throws cold water on every pass made in her direction, needs transportation for her troupe to their next engagement. For some obscure reason, Star Fleet assigns Commander Spock to act as taxi driver for them, and they all set off in a not-entirely-safe shuttlecraft.

On the way Spock is so caught up in watching Fatima's smouldering dark eyes, he forgets to watch the smouldering controls and they crash on an unexplored planet. Luckily, Spock and Fatima are the only survivors.

Just as Spock is getting ready to make his Big Move on Fatima, however, the Klingons show up for no particular reason and begin enslaving the local Neanderthals. Spock cannot abide this, and sets off to surround the brutes (that is, the Klingons) singlehandedly.

Fatima has a better idea. She will entertain those lonesome Klingon boys, so far from their homes and loved ones, with good old-fashioned Spanish flamenco, and thus win them over. The Klingons have an even better idea, their concept of entertainment being gang rape. However, The Enterprise shows up in the nick of time and pulls Fatima's castanets out of the fire, foiling yet another dastardly Klingon plot.

Unfortunately, it also Commander Spock back to Duty.

Fatima gives a farewell performance aboard the Enterprise, and touchingly does her own rendition of "It Was Just Another One Of Those Things."

In Our Judgement: Miss Drudge has outdone herself... again. -- Nettie Picker [16]


  1. ^ from Fanzine Review 'Zine #2
  2. ^ from Randy Ash in Sehlat's Roar #4
  3. ^ from Delta Triad 4
  4. ^ from The Halkan Council #24
  5. ^ from Implosion #5
  6. ^ from Probe #11
  7. ^ Opera fans will immediately recognize that she did. Fiamma's appearance is based on Greek soprano Maria Callas.
  8. ^ from Berengaria #9
  9. ^ At this early date, this fan is not using Kirk/Spock to mean a to sexual relationship, but a very, very, very close friendship.
  10. ^ from Berengaria #9
  11. ^ from Berengaria #9
  12. ^ from Fleet #16
  13. ^ comments from Some Attitudes Towards Marriage in Star Trek Fan Fiction (1981)
  14. ^ from Communicator #7 (Oct 1982)
  15. ^ from Communicator #8
  16. ^ from WXYZine #1 (1978)