The Displaced

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Title: The Displaced
Publisher: Catspaw Printers
Author(s): Lois Welling
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): Beverly Zuk
Date(s): 1978
Series?: yes
Medium: print zine
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: novel archived online at Trek Tales
front cover, Beverly Zuk
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
centerfold, Beverly Zuk -- a domestic scene

The Displaced is a het Star Trek: TOS fanzine. It is a 126-page Spock/OFC novel by Lois Welling. The art is by Beverly Zuk. It had an original print run of 300 and has a stapled binding. The author notes in an ad that "it contains one sexually explicit scene. If you are hyper-sensitive, be warned."

This story features an original female character who was viewed by many readers as a Mary Sue in the sense of possible self-insertion, albeit well-written. It displaces the main character (aptly named "Sue"), a "typical" 20th century nurse, ordinary looking and in her thirties, through time and space into the Star Trek universe and ends up being forced together with Spock through a captivity pon farr and slavery trope.

From an Ad

From Universal Translator #23: "'The Displaced' is the story of the occupants of Cell #9 on a breeding farm in the Towan solor system. Three females -- Susan, a human from the 1970s, an Andorian just barely 15, and a Romulan. The male in the cell is Commander Spock. All three were kidnapped and are now forced to live together and breed -- and work toward gaining their freedom."

The Series


Reactions and Reviews

In the old days, fans often acknowledged the Mary Sue-ish origins of their characters up front. If anything, it was considered an achievement to take a classic Mary Sue scenario and create a fine piece of fan fiction out of it. As an example, consider the print novel "The Displaced," published in 1979 or so. In it, a newly widowed 20th century housewife winds up in the 23d century, is captured by slavers and joins Spock in a sort of prison camp. Spock goes into pon farr, the heroine saves him, they stay together and have several children together before they are finally rescued by the Big E. The stuff out of which Mary Sues are made, right? But the maturity, integrity and honesty of the writing transforms it into a Good Story in spite of its Mary Sue-ish origins. [1]
This novel is the story of a very alien Spock in pon farr, kidnapped while on his way to Vulcan and sold to a slave planet, how he managed to stay alive for five years and to finally escape. His subtle emotional and character growth is seen through the eyes of another prisoner, a 'displaced' 1970s woman whose flight through the Bermuda Triangle was hijacked into a time/space warp and all passengers enslaved. Spock has the American woman, a Romulan female, and an Andorian girl for cell mates on a breeder farm, and the author deals with what happened during his plak two in a very realistic fashion. The narrative of their problems, misunderstandings, and courage as they gradually blend into a devoted family unit makes excellent reading. Lois has a nice smooth style, and her heroine, Susan, comes across as a real women; warm, loving, sensible, intelligent, and high spirited. Susan does what has to be done efficiently and with panache, and is in no way to be confused with a marysue. Were it not for the somewhat banal surrender to general fandom in the choice of endings (and in strict opposition to all Spock has learned and become during his imprisonment), this would be a splendid work. As it is, it is merely highly entertaining, beautifully written with a most inventive background, well worth reading. [2]
The Displaced is a book length novella that will be of interest to Spock fans. At first glance, it would appear to be a purely exploitive piece. Spock is captured. Spock is enslaved. Spock is forced to undergo Pon Farr with three alien women. However, the story does not exploit Spock or the other characters. The book opens with Jim Kirk happy and weak with relief to have found Spock injured but recovering, after his five year disappearance. The story unfolds to reveal that Spock was a prisoner for five years on the planet Towan I. It is revealed that pirates in the Towan system routinely raid passing ships. They have enslaved beings from all over the galaxy to work in their mines and to become guinea pigs for their extensive_ breeding program. Their ultimate plan is to breed enough of their own workers so "that the raids will no longer be necessary. One such "breeding unit" is comprised of Susan, Thela and Soy-an. Susan emerges as the leader of the group. Human and a scrappy survivor, she uses her nursing skills in the Towan clinic to avoid working in the mines. Thela is a captured Romulan officer. A bit more rigid than Susan, she is nonetheless very Intelligent and a survivor. Soy-an is a very young Andorian woman, hardly more than a child and existing in a very fragile emotional state. Susan and Thela do their best to shield her. It is to Spock's great fortune that Susan and Thela are working the night he is brought in with a new group of prisoners. They have an ambitious escape plan But it will require the help of someone who is a computer expert and able to fly a spaceship. A member of Starfleet would be perfect. Lucky for Spock, they pluck him from a new group of arrivals before anyone notices his Starfleet uniform (a sure death sentence on Towan), and he becomes their male. Susan is quite an unusual lady. Not only is she a captive of place, but of time as well. She is one of the "time-displaced," a twentieth century Earth woman living in the 23rd century. Not especially beautiful or brilliant, she is an ordinary woman forced to cope with extraordinary circumstances. What emerges is a portrait of a steel-willed, loving woman who is forced into an unusual relationship with Spock. But this is not a gratuitous sex and violence story. It is unlikely that Spock would fall under the spell of any woman and the author respects that about his character. Instead, he is forced to live and work with the three women. At first, his only goal is the same as theirs - escape. But all four come to care about each other and the new family unit that they form. The layout is professional and easy to read. The artwork is also quite good and provides excellent illustration for the story. [3]
On his way to Vulcan where this time he has made arrangements for his second pon-farr, Spock is captured by slavers and taken to the planet Towan, where slaves are used up in the mines if not kept as breeding stock. Susan, an Earthwoman captured from the 1970s, Thela, a Romulan starship officer, and Soy-An, a disturbed Andorian girl all work at the clinic and share a cell. They have so far managed not to be assigned a stud male yet, and Sue and Thela have made careful plans to get themselves a Starfleet officer the next time one comes along. They manage to get Spock but their plans go awry when the drug they use to spirit him away turns out to have unfortunate consequences because of his human genes and his state of pon-farr. Spock is seriously amok but when the dust settles they have become a family unit, and Spock is assigned work as a computer specialist. Over the next five years they continue to lay plans and produce hybrid children - a specialty of the station's drunken doctor. Sue's twins Jamie and Len and Thela's boy Thone result from the first round; Sue's Amanda and Soy-An's little girl Thay-An come along later. By the time the older boys are three, with just another year until they are taken away from the family, Spock must effect his escape by faking his death, and Susan must manage to keep the family going until he returns - or kill them all before the children are taken. The story is well-written, and doled out compellingly in flashbacks from the "present" in which the rescue is effected - the story emerges like a jigsaw puzzle. The three women's varied reactions to the horrors of their situation are convincing, as is the unorthodox family, and the resolution, which will enable Spock to return to the stars. Thela has taken Thone and returned to her own husband after some restorative surgery by McCoy; Soy-An committed suicide after Spock's reported death; Sue will live on Vulcan with Sarek and Amanda. All is not entirely well; McCoy is unable to save Sue's latest baby Chucka, born prematurely - the effects of the slave experience. [4]
On Towan II, three things predominate - slavery, mining, and brooding. The controllers now few in number capture people for their mining and breeding operations. Any Federation personnel are eliminated. Spock en route to Vulcan, also in a second ponn farr cycle has been captured. Susan a nurse and Thela her friend arrange for him to be their male. All fertile females are required to breed. For five years, these people survive Tarvan II. This story is told through Susan's eyes, from the first you know she will take charge. She has been thrust into this world, and survive it, she will. This story is good. Believable, well-written - you really feel for them in their situation. Susan makes Spock face up to his actions - if she can survive surely he can do so too! If there is any complaint, it is any complaint it is that the story ends when it becomes more interesting. Lois had written two sequels. I look forward to reading them. Also in this story, Spock's two halves seam to be in harmony - his human half help the 'family situation', his Vulcan half controls his actions towards the Ibwans. She had managed to balance this factor very well. Highly recommended. [5]
"The Displaced" by Lois Welling is yet another tale of a time-displaced woman who finds herself married to Spock. Susan is very different from Jenny [in One Way Mirror] or Aidan [in Echoes from the Past], however, in that she is a mature woman who has a career, a happy marriage and a family behind her before she is carried off by slavers. When she is forced by circumstances to cohabit with Spock and to share his attentions with two other women (one Romulan, one Andorian) and to produce children for the local economic system, her response is totally pragmatic -- if mating and motherhood will keep her and her fellow female prisoners alive, then mating and motherhood it will be, but on her terms as much as possible. Thus she and the Romulan choose Spock as being the male most likely to be useful in their endeavours to escape. Her final decision to encourage Spock to return to his position in Star Fleet after their successful escape is based on her recognition that for him a "proper" family life would be at best an onerous duty. She is one of the few females in fan fiction who seems capable of distinguishing between love and self-interest. In terms of the practical problems of her existence. Welling does give her protagonist some advantages, including intelligence, emotional maturity, and, perhaps unfairly, a slew of Terran/Vulcan, Romulan, or Andorian crossbred children for Amanda to dote upon. [6]

External Link


  1. ^ from On "Mary Sue" and "Lay" Stories, an essay by Judith Gran, accessed 5.10.2011
  2. ^ from Scuttlebutt #9
  3. ^ from Engage! #11
  4. ^ from Halliday's Zinedex
  5. ^ from Beyond Antares #28
  6. ^ from the 1981 essay Some Attitudes Towards Marriage in Star Trek Fan Fiction